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Ernie's House of Whoopass! June 6, 2011
June 6, 2011

"Another damned drill..." - German soldier, June 6, 1944.

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! 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 hopes 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 well 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 and 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. SIGNED: Dwight D. Eisenhower

Sergio Moirano, a United States veteran of World War II living in Belgium, talks about his experience before and during the allied landing on the beaches of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 in this interview taped by the U.S. Embassy in Belgium.

British D-Day veteran Peter returns to Normandy with his friend Len who was with him when they landed on Sword Beach, France at the end of WW2.

Baltimore Sun correspondent Holbrook Bradley landed on the beaches at Normandy with the 29th Division on D-Day Plus One. Holbrook Bradley interview courtesy of Maryland Public Television.

Gary Garrington of the 7th Light Infantry Parachute Battalion who landed almost a mile from Pegasus Bridge, which had just been captured by the first wave of British troops on June 6, 1944 at 12.16 am. Gary was dropped into a quarry half-an-hour later. After scrambling out, the 17-year-old made his way to the bridge which had to be defended if D-Day had any chance of succeeding. When we got to Pegasus Bridge there was a lot of gun fire. We walked across to Café Gondrée, which was all shut up." We kicked down the door to claim the place as a first aid post."

Canadian D-Day Veteran Bruce Melanson of 3rd Light AA. This interview catalogs bruce's experiences landing B Squadron, Queens Own Rifles of Canada at Nan White Sector, Juno Beach,m Bernieres-sur-Mer, Normandy, June 6, 1944.

General Albin Irzyk served as Tank Battalion Commander for General Patton and his 4th Armored Division in Europe during 1944 and 1945. He is one of the most decorated soldiers of World War II having won the nations second highest medal, the Distinguished Service Cross, along with two Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, 2 Purple Hearts, the Legion of Merit, the Croix de Guerre (France) and Czechoslovak War Cross. This 8 min video covers the first part of a fascinating conversation with General Irzyk in which he describes how he entered the war by landing in Normandy during July 1944 and breaking out south to the coast and then east across France during August and September 1944.

My Fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far. And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer: Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith. They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph. They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest -- until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war. For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home. Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom. And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them -- help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice. Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts. Give us strength, too -- strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces. And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be. And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keeness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment -- let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose. With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace -- a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil. Thy will be done, Almighty God. Amen. President Franklin D. Roosevelt - June 6, 1944

Ernie, Long, long time visitor to your site. Needless to say I love it. My wife and I were in Europe last year and visited the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial. As I'm sure you know, it's where George Patton is buried. Attached are a few pix for your perusal. Best regards, Gary

Patton's Speech to the Third Army was a speech given by General George S. Patton to troops of the U.S. Third Army on June 5, 1944, the day before D-day. Patton delivered variations of the speech on several different occasions to his troops, although the June 5 date is the most well known. A hard copy of the speech exists. It has since become immortalized in George C. Scott's rendition in the movie Patton, where he delivers it in front of a large American flag. However Patton's actual words were so profane that the movie edited and toned down the language. Certain phrases from the speech were also used in Scott's dialogue later on in the film. Patton's speech was largely designed to motivate US troops that were to be under fire. There had been a lot of talk about superior German firepower and the level of fear and doubt was so great in the armed forces, that the US Army even resorted to making propaganda films claiming that the infamous German machinegun, the MG-42, had a bark louder than its bite. The Army did not want US soldiers to get pinned down, and knew that their forces would have to be motivated as they were to be charging German heavy fire on foot.

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