Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, Order of the Day for 6 June 1944
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is will trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.
But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!
I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!
Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.
I’ve been trying to find the appropriate words to mark the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, and I confess to feeling painfully inadequate. What words are adequate to write about heroes who don’t consider themselves as such? Those who remain will tell you often that the “real heroes” are the ones who never grew old. That they just did what they were ordered to do.
But the truth is that we are, because of what they did (and not just at Normandy). So perhaps, instead of trying to find the words, we take with us their memory, their actions, and their character: humility, courage, perseverance, fortitude, and honor.
And instead of speaking, we just listen and learn: