80 years after D-Day: Where are the heroes in our midst?

Thursday is the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

At Mercury One, in our museum, we have one of the most awe-inspiring and precious items in the collection. It is a flag that was on a landing craft that brought men and tanks across the channel on D-Day. The ship was sunk by the Germans on Omaha beach, and one of the sailors went down to rescue the flag.

Let us not forget what honor truly looks like and try to emulate that in our own lives — every day, beginning today.

That one flag tells the entire story of D-Day. It is ripped to shreds, frayed, yet the stars are still together.

This was the biggest military operation in world history. Three million allied troops were sent across the channel. No one knew whether it would succeed or fail. No one knew whether Hitler was expecting them, whether he was still there. His troops were on high alert. If he hadn’t looked elsewhere, we would have failed.

Imagine being on the shore of England getting ready to go across the channel knowing that one of the most battle-hardened and technologically-sound armies was waiting on the beach for you.

Eisenhower wrote a letter. He wrote it to everyone who was going, and it was distributed in pamphlets to every soldier preparing for Operation Overlord. He wrote:

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 hope 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 beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

As they were reading that, launching one by one into the channel, Franklin Roosevelt was on the radio talking about the fall of Rome.

The next day, once they had gotten onto the beach and were making progress, FDR took to the airwaves again in what would be one of the most outrageous speeches if it were given today.

Imagine your president coming on the air, and saying this:

Last night, when I spoke to you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment, the troops of the United States and our allies were crossing the channel in another and greater operation. And it has come to success, thus far.
But in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer.

That’s where the president today, if he said even that much, would leave it. But Roosevelt went on:

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 your blessings, we shall prevail over the unholy force of our enemy. Help us conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies.
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.

Could you even imagine hearing our president speak like that today?

We have a real problem in today’s world where we don’t even really want to admit our own faults. If we’re honest about what we’re facing today, it’s all our own fault.

We let our love of unbridled freedom conquer our duty of responsibility. We let our wants become our needs, and there is no one to blame anymore — or at least, there is no one who will take the blame.

Dwight Eisenhower has become one of my favorite people in history. He took ownership as a leader, not only in his successes, but also in failure. While he said the words, “The eyes of the world are upon you, and we are going to win,” in his pocket on that day he had written a letter for release if things did not go well.

He said:

Our landings have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold. And I have withdrawn our troops. My decision to attack at this time, and place, was based on the best information available. The troops, the air, the navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. Any blame or fault that attaches to this attempt, it is mine alone.

Right now, our politicians are trying to do something. They think they are very brave and noble, but they haven’t even told us what they’re truly fighting for.

It’s not Ukraine that is driving up the gas prices. It’s their fight for climate. It is their fight for the earth, and they will blame the repercussions on anything. It is the money-printing of greedy politicians and an absolute criminally incompetent Fed.

Neither our commander in chief nor his government puppets will show us what true leadership looks like. They will never own up to the responsibility of their own actions. It will always be someone else’s fault.

Let us not forget what honor truly looks like and try to emulate that in our own lives — every day, beginning today.

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