Sunday, June 16

Jack Carr recalls Gen. Eisenhower’s D-Day memo about ‘great and noble undertaking’

“Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!” 

So began Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s 1944 “Order of the Day” memorandum, delivered on June 5, 1944, the night before the momentous D-Day landings in Normandy, France, during World War II.

Copies of the letter — meticulously drafted by Eisenhower himself, beginning in February of that year, according to the National Archives — were given to members of the Allied forces. 

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To this day, it remains one of the most significant documents in military history.

Here is the rest of his message — strong words worth recalling 80 years later.

“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,” said Eisenhower. 

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“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.”

Eisenhower went on, “Your task will not be an easy one,” he went on. “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.”

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The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man,” he wrote.

“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!”

And Eisenhower went on, “I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!”

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He added, “Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”

The memo was signed simply, “Dwight D. Eisenhower.”

Follow Jack Carr on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/jackcarrusa.

Operation Neptune, the naval component of Operation Overlord, was the largest invasion ever assembled. 

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Some 156,000 Allied troops stormed Normandy, France, by sea and air to liberate Western Europe from Nazi Germany. 

The successful invasion of northern France on D-Day, June 6, 1944, became one of the major events in U.S. naval history. 

Some 11 weeks later, Allied troops advancing from Normandy and Brittany liberated Paris — almost two months ahead of schedule, as Naval History and Heritage Command noted.

Germany unconditionally surrendered during World War II on May 7, 1945. 

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