Eisenhower’s speech to the troops:
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
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
“Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin, I am personally going to shoot that paper hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler. Just like I’d shoot a snake!”
General George S. Patton – (addressing to his troops before Operation Overlord) – 5th June 1944
Usually articles and remembrances around Veteran’s Day begin with a reverential quote about sacrifice and/or honor but I thought I would give you something irreverent from one of my favorite generals, George S, Patton.
When I was a kid, one of the things I liked best was going to the family reunions on my dad’s side of the family. These usually occurred in the panhandle of Oklahoma where there is nothing but horizon for miles and miles. There were lots of things I liked about these get-togethers; the pot-luck meals, the baseball games we would organize (usually using dried cow patties for bases), the croquet games, and watching the sun go down at the end of the evening while enjoying home made ice cream that tasted all that much better because every kid had to take his turn turning the crank. But the thing I liked best about family reunions was listening to the war stories told by my dad and great uncles. My father served in the army in Vietnam and I had several great uncles who served in WWII. Inevitably, they would all end up in a group and start talking. They usually started off with funny ones but after a while things would always take a serious tone. By the time I was 11 or 12, I had heard most of them a hundred times but I never got tired of listening. There was always a swelling of pride and patriotism in my chest as I listened to the men in my family talk about serving their country.
I just wanted to write a few lines and say thank you to all of you veterans out there. Thank you for the sacrifices that you have made. Thank you for putting your country before your self and family. But mostly thank you for my freedom. John Adams once said “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.” It is because of you, and the men and women like you throughout our nation’s history, that my children live in a nation with a bright future as citizens free to choose the course of their own lives.