Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Greatest Sacrifice

“Sailors, Soldiers, 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 hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.”

These were the words that General Dwight Eisenhower imprinted on the hearts and minds of the courageous Allied Soldiers before D- Day, on June 6, 1944. This was arguably the most critical date in the history of the world as the Allied Forces led by the United States stormed the beaches of Normandy to rescue the world from the tyranny of the Nazis. It’s hard to imagine, but in the early 1940’s it seemed that the Nazis might actually win the war. A victory by the Nazis would have meant a world in which have been Judenrein or Free of Jews as the Nazis desired. They made no bones about it. They wanted to kill every Jew in the world and not just in Europe. The only things standing in the way of this evil scheme were the Allied Forces who stood up to the Nazis and defeated them. The chances of the Allied Forces surviving this harrowing invasion were remote. Using new studies, for the first time, we can forensically analyze the chances of survival. As 2,000 paratroopers faced 345,000 bullets, across an area of sky covering 9 squares miles, the chances of survival were 1 in 4. There were about 10,000 men that gave up their lives that day. They knowingly went to near-certain death to liberate a people they did not know and whose language they could not speak.
I reflected on this today, which is the 75th anniversary of D-day. From all the persecuted people that were liberated by the Allied Forces, it is the Jewish People that owe a significant debt of gratitude to these heroes for giving up their lives so that we could live to see another day. As of today, in the Normandy American Cemetery in France, 9,388 heroes are laid at rest. Interestingly, 149 are marked as Jewish graves. Instead of crosses, these burial sites bear marble Stars of David. Regardless of which religious symbol occupies this sacred space in Normandy, we must remember the enormous sacrifice that the heroes of the greatest generation made. We must never forget them. Yehi Zichrom Baruch. May their memory always be for a blessing!

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