Rushville Republican


June 14, 2013

Ward: They really were the Greatest Generation

RUSHVILLE — December 7, 1941 may be the day that will live in infamy, but June 6 ,1944 surely will be the day that began the ending of the Nazi scourge in Europe. Thousands of American, British and Canadian men stormed the vaunted Festung Europa of Hitler. They knew they faced a daunting job to even get to the landing and dry land, but they did not hesitate. Those young men and those who commanded them knew and very reluctantly accepted that there would be huge causality lists. But they did not hesitate they did what had to be done.

There was no certainty that the invasion would actually gain a foothold in Normandy. There was no certain way that the Allies could actually get a foothold on the European Continent. There were those who knew that their assignment would mean certain death; they were called Rangers. They landed on a beach below a huge and high cliff. On top of those cliffs stood a large number of German soldiers and it was thought huge guns that would command the beach and be able to kill hundreds. Those Rangers did their job and at a huge cost. Those men who made it to the beach only to be felled by German bullets died before they even realized that they had made it to dry land. They fought, they died, they were wounded, yet continued to fight and they advanced. Men on both sides died, were wounded, were maimed for life, but all fought and fought bravely and long and continued to get that important foothold on the coast of Normandy.

Those men from Eisenhower on down to the lowliest Private knew many would die. They knew what was coming yet they persevered and continued to do their duty to God and country. I was young, but also was caught up with the emotions of the time. We went to church, we prayed, we worried, we listened to the radio and again we prayed. Much had been done to attempt to throw the Nazi intelligence off as to where the landings would be and evidently it worked to an extent. Hitler helped because he was convinced the true landing would be further up the coast. Huge phantom armies had been conceived and they fooled the enemy. French soldiers and sailors finally managed to come home and help free their land from tyranny.

The bravery of those many men who landed that day on those beaches is beyond comprehension of us today. These men were truly the Greatest Generation. They showed us how to be brave, how to fight and how to die. Many would never be the same after this horrendous event, but they fought on. A year later Germany fell and Hitler committed suicide rather than face the fury of his conquerors. Our men and the Allies men fought on for over a year, but in the end those hallowed fields in Normandy where so many now rest were free and so was the entire country of France. The yoke of tyranny was lifted from many French, Belgium, Norwegians, Swedes and others and our allies plowed on toward Germany.

The world owes those men a true vote of thanks, not only for their bravery but their dedication to one thing, victory. World War II was a true worldwide war, one spread all over the globe and one between three different types of government and societies. In the English and American mind Europe came first, but the Asian theater of operations, although second on the list of importance, took its toll of lives and individuals as well. Both countries were fighting in places almost everywhere in the world. But the Allies had one huge advantage, the American people and their industrial might. Our country was one of very few in the world whose country had not been ravaged one way or the other. We were indeed the arsenal of the world during this period. We had the manufacturing power, the man power and the desire to fight and fight hard for freedom for us and our allies.

And after the war we were Christian enough to not punish beyond reality our defeated enemies, but to help them recover. We helped both friends and foes after the war and now Germany and Japan are our partners in world affairs. Many of those brave men are now gone and many others are getting up in age. Let us never forget what they did or how they did it. Let us forever honor them for their bravery and lives even after we find ourselves with none alive. And most important of all, let us never forget the horror and huge cost in lives and treasure of war.


Text Only
  • This column will self-destruct in 5 seconds I've become completely infatuated over the past few weeks with a gift I received a few Christmases ago. It was a completely unexpected gift from one of my big brothers: a set of "Mission: Impossible" DVDs. No, not home videos of me begging my kids to

    April 15, 2014

  • Don't sweat the small things There are a few things in life that really get under my skin, one of which is complaining. Yes, I complain sometimes, but it doesn't last too long at all before I put myself in check. There was a story this week that really touched my heart and like

    April 15, 2014

  • The timeless beauty of wicker No matter what the day may bring, I can leave it all behind when I take my evening walk. Strolling through our historic neighborhood on Indy's south side is a multifaceted treat. It is good for my heart, it erases the cares of the day and it affords

    April 15, 2014

  • Self deposit box I love where I bank. It's a branch inside of a big supermarket. I can make a modest withdrawal and then go and blow every last penny in the cookie aisle. The tellers at the window appreciate me. They know about my obsession with round numbers and und

    April 15, 2014

  • Change can be done here In previous columns I've suggested that one of the factors holding this community back is the relatively poor image many of us have of our town. The point, as some may recall, was made by several people who live in other communities who said Rushvill

    April 15, 2014

  • Second hand rose...or fashionista? "Fashion is an expression of individualism mixed with charisma"....John Fairchild 1940's sensible shoes with a '70's midi-skirt. High waist skirts with over the knee boots. Polka dot shirts with bell-bottom pants. Retro fashion is here to stay, and w

    April 11, 2014

  • Mankind is not causing global warming Back on Feb. 26 of this year, an article appeared on with the following headline, "Greenpeace co-founder: No scientific proof humans are dominant cause of warming climate." Here's what Patrick Moore, a Canadian ecologist and co-founder of

    April 8, 2014

  • One fine day True story here: a long time ago, a young woman from Cincinnati daydreams of growing up and meeting a nice man, getting married, learning to cook, having two children, etc. etc. Eventually, it all comes true for her. Except it all happens in a major

    April 8, 2014

  • It is time we take back our country What ever happened to the America of my youth? That great country that was indeed the jewel of the common person of the world. The country where one could actually, through hard work and industry, make a good living and actually have the OPPORTUNITY

    April 8, 2014

  • Net tricks My wife and I went on a binge last week. If you think I'm talking about an eating binge, you've never seen how thin we both are. If you think I mean a shopping binge, you don't know how cheap we are. And if you think it was cleaning binge, you've nev

    April 8, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.