Psalm 44:1-8
June 6

Today we mark D-Day, which happened on June 6, 1944. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander during World War II, led the Allied Forces in the invasion of Nazi-held France. Code-named Operation OVERLORD, this was the greatest invasion in human history that, less than a year later, led to the liberation of Europe from Adolf Hitler’s tyranny. I would argue that it was the Providence of God together with the bravery and sacrifice of Allied Military Forces that won the day.  

Plans were being made for a cross-Channel assault to retake the continent and defeat Hitler’s Third Reich ever since Nazi Germany forced the Allies out of France in the spring of 1940. By the spring of 1944 an elaborate plan was secretly in place to launch the attack. The Allies faced an enemy determined to keep them from landing successfully anywhere along the western European coastline. To ensure against such a landing, Hitler ordered brilliant strategist Field Marshal Erwin Rommel to complete the Atlantic Wall—a 2,400-mile fortification made up of concrete bunkers, barbed wire, tank ditches, landmines, fixed gun emplacements, and beach and underwater obstacles specially designed to rip out the bottoms of landing craft or blow them up before they reached the shore.

On the eve of June 5, 1944, 160,000 men, an armada of over 5,000 ships and landing craft, 50,000 vehicles, and 13,000 planes sat in southern England, poised to attack secretly across the English Channel along a 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast of France. This force was the largest amphibious assault in history and represented years of rigorous training, planning, and supplying. It also represented a previously unknown level of cooperation between nations—all struggling for a common goal. The plan took 18 months to come together and called for landings at five beaches code-named Utah, Omaha (Americans), Gold (British), Juno (Canadian), and Sword (British).
Providence with the Weather
The sequence of weather events surrounding Operation Overlord is one of the most miraculous stories of World War II. The D-Day invasion was vastly complex and had many meteorological requirements for everything to work. A low tide at first light was needed to expose beach obstacles to the assault waves. A full moon after midnight the night before was necessary for airborne operations. June 5 and 6 came closest to meeting these conditions.

Additionally, however, the winds could not be too strong for landing craft and paratroopers. The clouds could not be too low for aircraft. Surf conditions had to be acceptable. The chief meteorologist estimated the odds of all these requirements being met in early summer on the coast of France as 50 or 60 to one. On June 5 the stormy English Channel seemed to bear out these odds. D-Day on the 5th had to be canceled.
From the German perspective, May seemed a more likely month for the invasion. During periods of good weather in May, coastal defense forces were put on maximum alert. When the weather turned bad in early June, readiness was relaxed and some units were withdrawn from the coast for exercises inland. Conditions were so bad that reconnaissance aircraft could not fly.

With ships at sea and all of his forces poised to go, General Eisenhower and his staff agonized over each weather report. A slim chance for a break on June 6 was forecast. The moon and tides would not be right again until June 19-20. On this slim hope, Ike finally announced, “OK. We’ll go.” On the morning of June 6, there was a brief break in the bad weather. Wind and surf died down, and broken clouds allowed Allied planes visibility for pinpoint operations. The weather was not perfect. It was just bad enough to lull the German defenders and just good enough to allow the essential Allied landing operations to proceed successfully. When gale force winds struck the Normandy coast on June 19-20, General Eisenhower sent his chief meteorologist a note saying how thankful he was that they went when they did. He would not have had a second chance. Thanks in part to this miraculous weather pattern, the greatest invasion in history would succeed. In addition to the weather, the Germans believed the Allies misinformation campaign.
Providence with the Enemy
Because of highly intricate deception plans, Hitler and his High Command believed that the Allies would be attacking at the Pas-de-Calais, the narrowest point between Great Britain and France. In fact, Gen. George S. Patton, arguably our best field General was used as a convincing decoy as commander of a fictitious army division. Additionally, with the bad weather hitting the French Coast, Field Marshall Rommel had concluded it was a good time to travel back to Germany for his wife’s 50th birthday. So, when the landings came, he was 500 miles away. With God’s Providence evident with the weather and with the enemy, it was time to move.
Providence Invoked by the Allies
General Eisenhower issued the following Invasion Orders:
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 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 a full Victory!
Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

Consequently, there were crowded, eve-of-battle religious services on landing craft, ships, and airfields. Earlier King George VI rallied the nation to prayer and armed services chaplains diligently prayed with and instructed the military personnel to put their trust in God. Elsewhere there were prayer vigils. Early in the evening of June 5, PFC Leslie Cruise attended to one final preparation before donning his equipment. He gathered with others for a chapel service led by his chaplain, Capt. George “Chappie” Wood. During the service, the chaplain said a prayer for the paratroopers that Leslie never forgot:

Almighty God, our Heavenly Father: Who art above us and beneath us, within and around us, drive from the minds of our paratroopers any fear of the space in which thou art ever present. Give them the confidence in the strength of thine everlasting arms, endue with clear minds and pure hearts that they may participate in the victory which this nation must achieve in thy name and through thy will. Make them hardy soldiers of our country as well as thy son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.[2]

British General Montgomery also addressed Allied troops, saying: “Let us pray that the Lord, mighty in battle, will give us victory.”[3]

At midnight, the invasion got underway. The Germans remained unsuspecting, and, according to David Gardner, the Daily Telegraph reported that this was the only night their U-boat submarines did not patrol the channel.[4]  As 5,000 ships and 13,000 planes — the biggest amphibious invasion in history — advanced across the English Channel, they encountered hardly any hostile forces initially.
Complete Surprise
First, thousands of Allied paratroopers and glider troops landed silently behind enemy lines after midnight, securing key points on the flanks of the invasion area. It was a daring plan. The spearhead of the D-Day landings was to capture two bridges intact. The single most vulnerable point of the allied invasion lay on its eastern flank. If the Germans could counterattack with their deadly tanks, they would pick off the allied forces as they landed, division by division.

At midnight of D-Day, the first glider descended towards one of the two bridges they designated as Pegasus. Only by holding ‘Pegasus’ bridge over the River Orne, the key crossing point in that region, could the Germans tanks be held back. The plan was for paratroopers in gliders to land silently during the night, right beside the defended bridges, before the Germans could blow them. The gliders would be coming in at 100 mph, with no guiding lights. At first the pilot, Jim Wallwork, could not see the bridges, canal or river. He was only flying on stopwatch time to calculate his position. But, at 200 feet, the clouds cleared and revealed the river and canal, like strips of silver, at just the right moment.

The bridge loomed and Wallwork released a braking parachute. The glider landed, sparks flying, with the barbed wire ahead rushing towards it. The aim was to crash through enemy barbed wire, right beside the bridge. Maximum surprise had been achieved.

As a diversion, allied bombers had been bombing a cement factory at nearby Caen. The bridge guards assumed a stricken bomber had fallen from the sky, not an unusual occurrence, and continued to patrol the bridge unsuspecting.

The British paratroopers, dazed by the landing, gathered themselves. Major John Howard, in charge of the platoon, commented: “When we came to our senses, we realized there was no firing. There was no enemy firing. It all seemed quite unbelievable.”

Minutes later, 22 paratroopers advanced over the bridge at a steady trot towards the guards, who, terrified, dived into the bushes. Within ten minutes, the garrison had been overwhelmed and the bridge taken intact.

But German forces were alerted. Until allied reinforcements arrived, the British glider paratroopers were on their own. It was not long before two German tanks arrived, with four more on the way. The paratroopers had a single anti-tank gun with a range of just 50 yards.

Michael Thornton, the paratrooper with the gun, had just one chance. But, amazingly, his shell hit the tank right in the middle, setting off its machine gun clips, which in turn set off its grenades and shells. Soon the burning tank became such a spectacular fireworks display that it enabled lost paratroopers to become re-orientated towards them. It also blocked the road leading up to the bridge, thwarting the German advance.
Hitler’s Indecision
Meanwhile, Colonel Hans von Luck, commander of the Panzer Tank Regiment in the locality, mustered his force to counter-attack. But he was unable to give the order for them to go, for the German armored divisions remained under the personal command of Hitler, who had to be satisfied that this was the real invasion.

Yet Hitler was sleeping, and no one wanted to wake the Fuhrer. Was this the real invasion? The allies’ deception plan, to fool the Germans into thinking the attack would come near Calais, had succeeded, and the Germans were not persuaded that the invasion was anything but a diversion (which Hitler believed for a while).

There had already been one 24-hour postponement and everyone’s nerves were on edge. Pvt. 1st Class Leslie Cruise, Jr. realized the long wait was almost over. To his load of K-rations, canteens, first-aid pack, extra clothing, M-1 rifle, and bayonet, he added a belt full of 30-caliber ammunition and two extra bandoliers, plus fragmentation and smoke grenades, and a 9-inch anti-tank mine.

As he checked his gear he patted his left breast pocket where he kept his most important item: a small New Testament that his mother had given him. Thinking of his Bible, he said a quiet prayer to himself: “God help me to commit myself to the task ahead and help me to be a good soldier, and save me from harm.[5] He knew that he and his fellow soldiers would need the power of God in the night and days ahead.

Hours before daylight on D-Day four men in a rubber boat approached Omaha Beach. Three Navy frogmen dropped off into the water. The fourth man, Lt. William Smith, continued to the beach where he crawled ashore in darkness and dug a shallow foxhole for protection. His dangerous mission was to get to the beach undetected and to adjust naval gunfire by radio.

Lieutenant Smith, or “Smitty” as he was called, understood his overwhelming responsibility. He had landed in North Africa and Sicily, and knew what the weapons hidden above him could do to troops and landing craft. He was a 27-year-old veteran, handpicked for this new and untried assignment, and had trained for weeks in the difficult art of coordinating the fire of moving ships against stationary targets.

Smitty was also a very religious man. When he packed his duffel bag, the last thing in and the first thing out was his Bible. When he wasn’t on the job, his first priority was reading it, and he did this every night without fail. He also turned to God frequently in prayer. His son later described how he prepared for his D-Day mission:
He had long ago resolved himself to the near certainty of his own death. He was going to call fire as long as he had a single breath in his body. He would leave his own fate, and thus the fate of many of those coming ashore in his sector, to God… he asked only that God look out for them. As usual, there was no thought of his personal safety. On this day God certainly had more important things to think about than him.[6]

At the end of a long and harrowing day on Omaha Beach, Smitty turned off his radio and thanked God, not for his own survival, but that he had been able to do his job successfully. He also said a prayer for “those brave, brave men that had fallen in service to their nation, and their God.”[7] He was awarded the Bronze Star for his heroic actions on D-Day.

Lt. John Burkhalter was a highly decorated chaplain with the First Army Division, landing early on Omaha Beach on D-Day. He had been ordained in 1935 and served as pastor of a Florida church until he enlisted in the Army in 1942 at age 33. He was a former National Championship high school football player and professional boxer for eight years. With the First Division, he was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action after heroically exposing himself to enemy fire to recover casualties.

Southern Baptist Chaplain Burkhalter suffered with his men on Omaha Beach. He saw landing craft obliterated by direct hits and countless men cut down as they tried to reach the shore. He saw wave after wave pile up on the beach, unable to advance. Every advantage seemed to be with the Germans and every disadvantage with his troops. Through it all he prayed earnestly, with faith that only God could see anyone safely through such a nightmare. In retrospect he was certain that he would never forget those moments. He knew that during the ordeal he had drawn very close to God. In a letter to his wife, he explained:
Nobody can love God better than when he is looking death square in the face and talks to God and then sees God come to the rescue. As I look back through hectic days just gone by to that hellish beach. I agree with Ernie Pyle that, “it was a pure miracle we ever took the beach at all.” Yes, there were a lot of miracles on the beach that day. God was on the beach on D-Day; I know He was because I was talking to Him.[8]
Hero of Omaha
Several hours into the invasion at Omaha, unrelenting fire from the bluffs above by German machine guns and mortars kept the Americans pinned down on the sand now red with our heroes’ blood. Then a Providential breakthrough came. The battle turned, and with it, history. Joseph Dawson, son of a Texas preacher, never considered himself a professional soldier. Even so, he was an infantry company commander and one of the great heroes of D-Day.

After his landing craft was hit and almost wiped out, Joe reached Omaha Beach where he found groups of disorganized soldiers trying to stay alive in the maelstrom. He gathered those nearest him and began moving forward under the withering fire. While attacking through a minefield, he was wounded but continued to lead the assault. Captain Dawson found a path, snuck beneath an enemy machine gun perch, tossed his grenades and took them out. Soon, American troops were charging up “Dawson’s Draw.” What bravery he showed. His group was one of the first to penetrate the enemy defenses on D-Day at Omaha, and Dawson himself was later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

His citation reads in part:
With absolute disregard for his own personal safety, Captain Dawson moved from his position of cover on to the mine field deliberately drawing the fire of the enemy machine guns in order that his men might be free to move. This heroic diversion succeeded and his combat group crossed the beach to move into the assault on the enemy strongpoint. During this action, Captain Dawson was wounded in the leg. In a superb display of courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, Captain Dawson although wounded, led a successful attack into the enemy stronghold.[9]

In writing about his actions on D-Day, he displayed great reverence and humility over his success and survival:
It is awesome, even now, to me to see how we could possibly have survived, because the terrain there is remarkable in that it has the high ridge overlooking the beach itself, in such a dramatic way… It was only…God that allowed me to find a little opening which permitted us to get off of the beach. I’ve always felt a degree of humility as well as thanking God for having had the opportunity for making a break which allowed us to proceed off of Omaha.[10]

While stiff resistance was faced on Omaha Beach, at Utah Beach the American divisions landed at the wrong place, which worked in their favor as the beach was less defended there. Also at Utah, the Germans’ tractor tanks were unable to start and oppose the advancing armada. But the biggest threat was from the huge 105 MM Howitzer guns pointed down at the beach. Army Major Dick Winters from the 82 Airborne Division, whose paratrooper unit inspired the series Band of Brothers, led his men to take out the big guns trained on the beaches, saving hundreds of lives, reflected at the end of the day:

D-Day night we were in one hedge row and across the field in the other hedge row were the Germans. We were tired. We had been up all day the day before, up all night, and had a hard days fighting. We were ready to settle down. The Germans on the other hand, they were fresh. They are shooting their guns in the air. They are hollering. Are these guys going to have a night attack? I was very concerned.[11]

But his thoughts turned to heaven and to home:

I got on my knees and I said: “Dear Lord thank you for helping me get through D-day. And if I live through the war, I hope to go home and find a quiet piece of land and peace and quiet for the rest of my life.” I’m proud of the fact I did exactly that.[12]

Chaplain Burkhalter, on a landing craft at Omaha Beach, wrote home:

It was a pure miracle we even took that beach at all. Yes, there were a lot of miracles on the beach that day. As we approached the French coast, I began praying more earnestly than ever, and our assault craft was miraculously spared. The enemy was well dug in and had set up well prepared positions for machine guns and had well-chosen positions for sniping. Everything was to their advantage and to our disadvantage except one thing, the righteous cause for which we are fighting—liberation and freedom.[13]

As he climbed up the cliffs beyond the beach, he continued:

While there I did most of my praying. Shells were falling all around and how I knew that God alone was able to keep them away from us. I shall never forget those moments… during that time I was drawn very close to God.[14]
Prayer Meetings Back Home
In Philadelphia, the mayor sounded the Liberty Bell for the first time in over a century. In New York City, the New York Stock exchange observed two minutes of silence and in Madison Square, WNYC held a D-Day rally, featuring speeches and songs presided over by the city's mayor Fiorello La Guardia, who led the city in a prayer, telling those gathered—and those listening at home on their radios:

We, the people of the City of New York, in meeting assembled, send forth our prayers to the Almighty God for the safety and spiritual welfare of every one of you and humbly petition Him to bring total victory to your arms in the great and valiant struggle for the liberation of the world from tyranny.[15]

By the end of D-Day, there were nearly 10,000 Allied casualties, 4,414 confirmed dead.
 FDR Prayer
With so much at stake, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt decided to commemorate the moment and address the nation not with a Fireside Chat or a grand speech but with a prayer of his own composition. One of his sons once referred to Franklin Roosevelt as a “frustrated clergyman.” The president, an Episcopalian, loved liturgy and found the cadences of the Book of Common Prayer and of the King James Bible at once stirring and reassuring. The White House distributed the text to the media on the morning of June 6, 1944, so that the afternoon newspapers could publish it and listeners could pray along with Roosevelt when he broadcast that evening. With an estimated audience of 100 million, FDR was to lead what must rank as one of the largest mass prayers in human history. Here are his words, spoken in an hour of great peril with the outcome in the hand of God:
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 good will 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 keenness 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 arrogancies. 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.

As night fell at the end of D-Day, 175,000 allied troops were on Normandy soil, rising to nearly 300,000 along with 54,000 vehicles over the following six days. The liberation of Europe from the evils of Nazism had begun. Had the invasion failed (Eisenhower was prepared to read a statement over the radio taking full responsibility if Allied troops were repulsed from the beaches), Hitler would have been able to pull troops from his now-secure Western Front to strengthen his Eastern Front against the Soviet Union. A second Allied invasion into France would have taken years to plan, supply, and assemble.

Meanwhile Hitler would have further strengthened his Atlantic Wall, his newly developed V-1 flying bombs would continue to rain down on England from launching pads across the Channel, his jets would have gone into full production, reversing our air superiority, and with a V-2 rocket delivery system, the nuclear weapon his scientists were developing may well have been completed, which would have been decisive in the outcome of the war. D-Day was do or die…

Nearly a decade later, speaking in his Kansas hometown, Eisenhower commented:

This day eight years ago, I made the most agonizing decision of my life… the consequences of that decision… could not have been foreseen by anyone. If there were nothing else in my life to prove the existence of an almighty and merciful God, the events of the next twenty-four hours did it… The greatest break in a terrible outlay of weather occurred the next day and allowed that great invasion to proceed, with losses far below those we had anticipated. (Time, June 6, 1952)[17]

  General Eisenhower knew that God had intervened at one of the most important moments in the history of the world!
Pride in my nation welled up in me as I heard President Ronald Reagan commemorate the 40th Anniversary of D-Day. In Normandy, President Reagan addressed the remaining Army Rangers who risked their lives on the cliffs of Point Du Hoc:

The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers -- the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machineguns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After 2 days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms. 
Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there. These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.
Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love.
The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge -- and pray God we have not lost it -- that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.
You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One's country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.
The Americans who fought here that morning knew word of the invasion was spreading through the darkness back home. They fought -- or felt in their hearts, though they couldn't know in fact, that in Georgia they were filling the churches at 4 AM, in Kansas they were kneeling on their porches and praying, and in Philadelphia they were ringing the Liberty Bell.
Something else helped the men of D-Day: their rock-hard belief that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause. And so, the night before the invasion, when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer, he told them: “Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what we’re about to do.” Also that night, General Matthew Ridgway on his cot, listening in the darkness for the promise God made to Joshua: “I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.”[18] 
 But what of those who gave their lives for this freedom? If you could take a walk among the graves of the fallen, you would be moved by some of the tombstone inscriptions (Commonwealth War Cemetery at Bayeux):
  • Worthy for the task before him, he now rests with Christ forever (Pvt. D. F. Williams);
  •  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith (L. Cpl. T. H. Jones);
  •  The Lord watch between me and thee when we are absent one from another (L. Cpl. J. French).[19] 

Their sacrifice inspires our gratitude. Again, across the five beaches the allies had suffered nearly 10,000 casualties, with 4,414 confirmed dead, but 146,000 made it into Normandy. It took Hitler four years and a vast proportion of Germany’s resources to build the Atlantic Wall. It took the allies one day to breach it. Despite the incredible loss of life, the landings were a success. D-Day was the turning point in the war against the Nazi regime. The end was in sight. Less than a year later, Germany surrendered.

Today, the Normandy coast is peaceful. There are no sounds of guns or mortars or the cries of desperate and dying men, and the Atlantic Wall has crumbled into the sea. The beaches once stained by the blood of so many young men have been swept clean. Yet the epic events of that day and the sacrifices of so many reverberate

   [1] https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=75&page=transcript
   [2] https://veteransprayers.tripod.com/id17.html
   [3] https://www.evangelical-times.org/20735/gods-providence-and-the-d-day-landings/
   [4] Ibid.
   [5] Larkin Spivy, Stories of Faith and Courage from World War II, Battlefields And Blessings Series, (God & Country Press, 2009), Kindle version, note 417.
   [6] Stories of Faith, note 424.
   [7] Ibid, note 425.
   [8] Martin Bowman, Bloody Beaches, (South Yorkshire: Pen and Sword Books, 2013), 135.
   [9] Stories of Faith, note 437.
   [10] Ibid.
   [11] Maj. Dick Winters, Interview, Band of Brothers Series, HBO
   [12] Ibid.
   [13] https://www.kentuckytoday.com/stories/fourth-of-july-chaplains-fog-of-war-flow-of-life,20353
   [14] Ibid.
   [15] https://rarehistoricalphotos.com/new-york-city-d-day-pictures/
   [16] https://www.fdrlibrary.org/d-day
   [17] http://www.tomorrowsworld.org/magazines/2004/november-december/the-weather-factor#sthash.a7Tsh7OI.dpuf
[18] www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1984/60684a.htm
[19] https://www.ww2cemeteries.com/bayeux-war-cemetery.html