D Day

It is 65 years since that fateful day on the coast of France when forces of the United States, Britain, Canada, France and a number of other allies stormed ashore German occupied France to begin the liberation of a continent from the tyranny of the Nazi regime. Some 12,000 airmen were killed in the months prior to D-Day taking our crucial points in preparation for the invasion including securing air supremacy. John Eisenhower, General Eisenhower's son recounts the following conversation with his father:

The roads we traversed were dusty and crowded. Vehicles moved slowly, bumper to bumper. Fresh out of West Point, with all its courses in conventional procedures, l was offended at this jamming up of traffic. It wasn't according to the book. Leaning over Dad's shoulder, l remarked, "You'd never get away with this if you didn't have air supremacy." I received an impatient snort:

"If I didn't have air supremacy, l wouldn't be here."


Air superiority is crucial to winning a military campaign. Many factors go into play to secure such starting much earlier than the actual battles. First there is the long range planning and technological development that creates the aircraft that gives our airmen the ability to engage the enemy in a decisive way and survive the encounter to come home to their families. Then there are long hours of training for those airmen prior to battle to learn and keep skills sharp. Then there are all the hard work of other airmen providing crucial to the combat pilot.

In my time at Arlington I've buried many World War II veterans, including many veterans of the Normandy campaigns. I've buried a couple of men who stormed the beaches and later found themselves in the Air Force. I've buried some of the pilots who opened the way for the invasion. I even buried a cook this week who prepared the meals for the pilots in those days in 1944. Heroes all. All shining examples of service and commitment to freedom.

May we never forget their service nor their sacrifice.

May we never forget the lessons of that great war.

May we never surrender to nor ignore tyranny.

  • President Reagan's two magnificent speeches made on the 40th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion. Click here to watch
  • read the complete transcripts:here and here
  • General Eisenhower's speech to the troops the day before: Click here
  • President Roosevelt lead the American people in prayer on the day of the invasion: click here
  • powerful speeches by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill: Click here and here
  • is a video with D-Day footage and speeches from Reagan and General Patton: here