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D-Day 75

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Photo: Reuters

'D-Day' Quotes: 20 Memorial Sayings To Honor Sacrifice Of Troops On Beaches Of Normandy In 1944

"And what a plan! This vast operation is undoubtedly the most complicated and difficult that has ever occurred.'' -- Winston Churchill

"We want to get the hell over there. The quicker we clean up this goddamned mess, the quicker we can take a little jaunt against the purple pissing Japs and clean out their nest, too. Before the goddamned Marines get all of the credit." -- General George S Patton Jr

"It was unknowable then, but so much of the progress that would define the 20th century, on both sides of the Atlantic, came down to the battle for a slice of beach only 6 miles long and 2 miles wide." -- President Barack Obama

“Lieutenant Welsh remembered walking around among the sleeping men, and thinking to himself that ‘they had looked at and smelled death all around them all day but never even dreamed of applying the term to themselves. They hadn’t come here to fear. They hadn’t come to die. They had come to win.” -- Stephen E. Ambrose, Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne

"Men, I am not a religious man and I don't know your feelings in this matter, but I am going to ask you to pray with me for the success of the mission before us. And while we pray, let us get on our knees and not look down but up with faces raised to the sky so that we can see God and ask his blessing in what we are about to do." -- Lt Col Robert L Wolverton

"We know that progress is not inevitable. But neither was victory upon these beaches. Now, as then, the inner voice tells us to stand up and move forward. Now, as then, free people must choose." -- President Bill Clinton

“This operation is not being planned with any alternatives. This operation is planned as a victory, and that's the way it's going to be. We're going down there, and we're throwing everything we have into it, and we're going to make it a success." -- General Dwight D Eisenhower

"All that training was soon to pay dividends. With the decision to invade France, we were put into encampments (in England) surrounded by barbed wire and guards. By using sand maps, we learned every detail off the land where we would be jumping. Then onto the airfields where we emplaned into C47 cargo aircraft. We jumped at 1:30 a.m. into the darkness. I was told that when the first plan jumped, other planes were still taking off from many airports in England and stacking circles above each other. The jump master was shouting above the roar of the plan, 'Is everybody happy?' And of course, everyone shouted back, 'Yes Geronimo!' No one wanted their buddy to know we were scared so we could hardly speak. We came to know the only difference in a coward and a hero was that they were both scared but the hero took action while the coward held back. I might add that throughout those three combat campaigns, I never met a coward. The order came to stand up, hook up, and check equipment. Enemy shells were bursting all around and we could see aircraft catching fire and falling from the sky as we parachuted down. It was very dark and I landed in water."
-- D-Day, June 6, 1944, Sgt. Gerald Stuart Paulk, Company D, 2nd Batalion, 501 ST 101 ST Airborne

"That road to V-E Day was hard and long, and traveled by weary and valiant men. And history will always record where that road began. It began here, with the first footprints on the beaches of Normandy." -- President George W. Bush

"When pressure mounts and strain increases everyone begins to show the weaknesses in his makeup. It is up to the Commander to conceal his: above all to conceal doubt, fear, and distrust." -- General Dwight D Eisenhower

"These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war." -- President Ronald Reagan

"After enduring all the ordeals and training in England, we felt like we were completely ready for anything, and we were very ready to fight the Germans, and we looked forward to the day that we could actually get into the real fight." -- Sgt Bob Slaughter, 116th Infantry Regiment, US 29th Division

"The waiting for history to be made was the most difficult. I spent much time in prayer. Being cooped up made it worse. Like everyone else, I was seasick and the stench of vomit permeated our craft." -- Pvt Clair Galdonik, 359th Infantry Regiment, US 90th Division

"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." -- General Dwight D Eisenhower

"God almighty, in a few short hours we will be in battle with the enemy. We do not join battle afraid. We do not ask favors or indulgence but ask that, if You will, use us as Your instrument for the right and an aid in returning peace to the world." -- Lt Col Robert L Wolverton, commanding officer of 3rd battalion, 506th PIR.

"Rangers, Lead The Way!" -- Colonel Francis W Dawson

"There is one great thing that you men will all be able to say after this war is over and you are home once again. You may be thankful that twenty years from now when you are sitting by the fireplace with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what you did in the great World War II, you won’t have to cough, shift him to the other knee and say, Well, your Granddaddy shoveled shit in Louisiana." -- General George S Patton Jr.

"They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate." -- President Franklin D. Roosevelt

"The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you." -- General Dwight D Eisenhower

“No thoughts had I of anything, or at least that’s what I thought; I even thought I couldn’t think, but now I think I never thought.” -- Christopher Miller

“There's a graveyard in northern France where all the dead boys from D-Day are buried. The white crosses reach from one horizon to the other. I remember looking it over and thinking it was a forest of graves. But the rows were like this, dizzying, diagonal, perfectly straight, so after all it wasn't a forest but an orchard of graves. Nothing to do with nature, unless you count human nature.” -- Barbara Kingsolver

MORE D-DAY LINKS:

What is D-Day? Remembering the storied 1944 invasion of Normandy >

Learn about the Normandy American Cemetery >

Before-and-after photos reveal dramatic changes since D-Day >

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