On this day in 1944, with unshakable faith, Supreme Commander General Dwight Eisenhower directed D-Day, the Allied invasion of German-occupied France, a day that changed the course of World War II...and the 20th century.
By air, land, and sea, with over 10,000 airplanes, 5,000 ships, and over 135,000 service men, the troops attacked, crossing the English Channel to land on the coast of Normandy.
"We will accept nothing less than full victory," Eisenhower promised. With tears in his eyes, he saluted the U.S. 101st Airborne Division that roared off toward France on what he called the "Great Crusade."
This "Operation Overlord" to dismantle Hitler's Nazi empire took two years to plan and became the turning point of World War II. With Hitler surprised and slow to counterattack, Allied soldiers penetrated western France in six weeks.
By August, the battle of France was won near Falaise. The Germans were sandwiched between advancing Allies from the west and Soviets from the east.
The Allies suffered 9,758 casualties on the first day of battle. The courage of those who fought was captured by Steven Spielberg in his film Saving Private Ryan (1998) and can be relived at the new National D-Day Museum, which opened on this day in 2000 in New Orleans.
"Hitler should beware of the fury of an aroused democracy," Eisenhower warned when the war began.
When Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945, the newly-elected President Harry Truman said in a radio speech, "We must seek to bind up the wounds of a suffering world--to build an abiding peace, a peace rooted in justice and in law..."
"We can build such a peace only by hard, toilsome, painstaking work-- by understanding and working with our allies in peace as we have in war."
Go forward with unshakable faith.