"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Thursday, June 6, 2013

June 6, 1944

From Rick Atkinson's great new book about the American armed forces in Europe in World War II, The Guns at Last Light:

For those who outlived the day, who survived this high thing, this bright honor, this destiny, the memories would remain as shot-torn as the beach itself.    
They remembered waves slapping the steel hulls, and bilge pumps choked with vomit from seasick men... 
They remembered the red splash of shell bursts plumping the shallows, and machine-gun bullets puckering the sea "like wind-driven hail" before tearing through the grounded boats... 
They remembered brave men advancing as if "walking in the face of a real strong wind"...  
And they remembered the shapeless dead, sprawled on the sands like smears of divine clay, or as flotsam on the making tide, weltering, with their life belts still cinched.    
All this they would remember, from the beaten zone called Omaha.

Lest we forget.

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