June 6, 2024: This Day in Maney Family History

On this date in 2010 at First United Methodist Church in Van Wert, OH we debuted the anthem commissioned in my mother’s memory, Longing to Draw Near by Craig Courtney. My grandparents Maney were married 107 years ago on this date in 1917 (107 years!! How can that be??), my dad participated in D-Day on this date in 1944, I graduated from high school 53 years ago on this date in 1971, and my daughter Bridget graduated from high school on this date in 2008. June 6 has been a big day for the Maney family!

June 6, 2024: Jack Carr: Remember D-Day as if Were Yesterday, Everyday

Amen.

In the United States, June 6, 1944 will receive passing mention on news programs and social channels. There are few, if any, parades or official remembrances. Even those veterans who fought across the beaches and on to Berlin will receive scant recognition for what they did to liberate a continent and preserve the blessings of freedom for those who would follow.

In Normandy, they have not forgotten. They have not forgotten the Nazi occupation nor those who came ashore and dropped from the heavens [79] years ago. There are parades, remembrances, reenactments, parachute drops, and fireworks. The entire region, thousands of people, come out to welcome these heroes of the WW II generation, hug them, kiss them, ask them for photographs and autographs, and listen to their stories, stories they remember as if D-Day were yesterday.

But D-Day was not yesterday. It was [79] years ago. Those who fought there are creeping up on a century of life; some have passed that milestone. Soon they will walk among us no longer, their legacy honored by some, unappreciated by others, forgotten by too many.

The people of Normandy remember what it was like to be invaded and oppressed. And they remember what it was like to be liberated. They pass along the stories and the appreciation. What these men did on June 6, 1944, and in the months that followed will not be forgotten here. It is a privilege to spend time with them on the beaches, fields, and towns in which they fought.

As I push Walter Stowe through the Brittany American Cemetery in his wheelchair, he reminds me that in life we will touch a great many people. The question, he says, is will the people whose lives we touch be the better for it? Wise words.

Remember these citizen soldiers today and every day. Spend time with them at every opportunity. Listen to their stories. Embrace their wisdom. And when the last of them walks among us no longer, honor their sacrifice by standing strong for the freedoms for which they fought.

Remember them.

Read it all and watch President Reagan’s speech from 1984.

June 6, 2024: FDR’s D-Day Prayer

“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.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum

Read (and pray) it all.

June 6, 2024: General Eisenhower’s D-Day Speech

From here:

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon a 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, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!

Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

— Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

(For a fascinating story about what General Eisenhower was saying to his troops in the picture above, click here).

June 6, 2024: Remembering D-Day

Today marks the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, the greatest amphibious assault the world has ever known (and hopefully will ever know). Sadly, most of those valiant soldiers are now dead, and our country is the poorer because of it.

The Normandy invasion was a terrible and costly effort on the part of the Allies and must have been horrendous to those who had to face the deadly onslaught of the Nazi defenders. I would commend Stephen Ambrose’s book, D-Day, to anyone who is interested in this monumental battle. Ambrose was a wonderful storyteller, which all good historians are, and meticulous in his research. He weaves an absolutely riveting and terrifying tale of what the first troops landing in Normandy that day faced, and anyone with a semblance of imagination who can put himself in those soldiers’ shoes is sure to wonder if he could have faced that deadly fire with the courage and resoluteness that those soldiers did. I am simply awe-struck by it all.

I am also proud that my own father, John F. Maney, was part of that great and historic event. Fortunately, he did not have to hit the beaches until D+2 because it wasn’t until June 8th that our forces were able to establish a beachhead substantial enough to land a significant artillery presence, of which he was part. Like many of his generation, my dad is now dead, but one of my fondest memories is when we went back to Uffculme, England in 1984 to visit where he was stationed. We went into a pub to get some supper and find a place to sleep that night, and ultimately were led to a man who had been a “honey-dipper” while dad was stationed there, prior to D-Day. When Roy entered the pub that evening, he shook my dad’s hand and said to him, “Hello, young soldier.” He then welcomed dad back and thanked him for his service. It was as poignant a moment as I have ever experienced because my dad was no longer young and was no longer a solder; but he had been there, and he had been part of that monumental effort. I will always treasure it.

Thank you, young soldiers, for your bravery and determination in defeating an unspeakable evil that was Nazism. You paid a terrible price so that the rest of us can enjoy our freedom. I hope and pray we do not forget you or your generation, or the price freedom sometimes requires to persevere. Likewise, I pray we will not forget what it means to live responsibly in this democracy of ours so that we will not abuse the freedoms for which so many of you fought and died.

Who are your heroes from that generation? If they are still alive, take a moment today and thank them for being who they are.