You are on a small boat, cramped with scruffy men outfitted in full combat gear. Nervous and pensive they shift about, while you stand and wonder, “What the hell is going to happen to me?” Suddenly, an older man yells, “Get ready! We’re going in!” The boat slows down, and a ringing bell goes off. The front ramp slowly opens forwardand then all hell breaks loose.
A hail of bullets rips and thunders, tearing up your comrades into pieces of flesh and organs, spewing forth the liquid of life. Yet you survive, diving into the cold, murky waters below. The bullets are not content with the open air, and dive below, chasing after you like a dog to fresh meat. You see other men, wearing the same combat fatigue that you do. You struggle to bring your head above the water. Thunder and lightning split the air, striking down your friends, while grim men, cold as ice, plug away at their 150mm guns.
It is a barrage on your senses, the smell of ozone, the crackle of gunfire, the sight of death, the taste of salt water, and the coldness of the sea. You struggle out of the water and take cover behind a creature of steel, a device to block tanks, most likely. You hide behind there, while you hear men die, their screams burning into your mind. You see men fight, some die, some live, yet you still hid. Nighttime comes, and with it, silence. You decide then, to leave your cover, and venture out, into the killing fields.
It is quiet, and you see other men with rifles in their hand, congregating together. You join them, and devise a plan to destroy the grim men. You and other men take black tubes of death, Bengolers, and insert them into the rough terrain. They explode with a flash and bang, and you charge with the men, ready to attack.
This might sound like a movie about World War II, maybe Saving Private Ryan. However, this is no movie. This is real life. That was the story of my granduncle, Bill Zimmerman. He was a corporal, leader of his platoon, in the general infantry. He was only 19 years of age. He survived D-Day, and went on to fight the Battle of the Bulge, and he survived there too. This is the story of the day known as D-Day, the day the tides turned for the Allies.
Twenty years after the end of the First World War a man named Adolph Hitler of Germany began a Second World War. On September 1, 1939 Germany invaded Poland, which had a treaty with France and England to protect them. The English, French and Polish were all unprepared to fight, and as a result were beaten terribly. By the next spring France had been totally taken by the Germans. While Germany and their allies, Italy, controlled all of the western part of Europe, England, France and now America had to figure a way to take the control of Europe again. Their decision was to try and storm a beach in Normandy, France. It would be one of the bloodiest war battles in U.S. History.
In 1942 General Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, had warned Germany to, “Beware the fury of an aroused democracy.” On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the Allies mounted the largest amphibious assault in history and made true Eisenhower’s warning. The invasion force consisted of more than 5,000 ships, 1,200 warships and 13,000 airplanes. Some 90,000 U.S., British, Canadian, and free French troops landed on the beaches of Normandy while about 20,000 more came by parachute or glider. The Invasion had been in preparation for a year. Over 55,000 brave American soldiers stormed the beaches of Normandy, an appalling 2,700 Americans had took their last steps of life defending their country, their world, and everything they stood for.