Wednesday, June 06, 2012

D-Day June 6, 1944 "Bloody Omaha"

Five years ago, this summer, I had an opportunity to travel to Omaha Beach. It was an experience I shall never forget to see where it all happened 68 years ago today.

This picture depicts Omaha Beach on the day of Operation Overlord (D-Day), June 6, 1944. Located in Normandy, France, Omaha Beach was one of the five beaches invaded by the Allies and the most difficult. After the first three waves of landings the American solders were pinned on the beach by German fire and were hugging the sea wall most of the morning as they were unable to move off of the beach.

Since there was no more room on the beach follow up waves of troops were halted. The plan had been to move up the ravines to the top of the bluffs over looking Omaha Beach but they were blocked by German cement pill boxes. Eventually small units of American troops scaled the bluffs directly and cleared out the ravines from behind to take "Bloody Omaha" The situation that morning was so precarious the American command considered pulling the troop off the beach.  Allied Commander General Eisenhower, a true leader, had already prepared a press release taking all the blame for the landings failure.

One unknown officer in his famous words best describes the brutality of the battle, "Two kinds of people are staying on this beach. The dead, and those about to die."

The United States and Britain liberated Europe and all we ask the French for was a little land to bury our dead. The white on the grass above are the crosses of the dead at the American cemetery at Omaha at the top of the bluffs we paid so much for  in American blood to scale.

Freedom is not free!