So, okay, today's the 255th anniversary of Nathan Hale. Patrick Henry, another storied hero of our nation's war for independence, was given death on this day, 211 years ago, on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Diego Rodriguez Silva y Velazquez, glorious Spanish painter. And oh yeah: this is my 11/12 birthday, one month out from the start of my 60th year. My eyes: they roll heavenward. All of this, especially the latter, pales next to the thunderous events of this day, 66 years ago, on coast of France.
Inevitable though it was, the actual date a closely held secret and dependent upon all manner of weather and logistics, but what an heroic and horrific deal it was when Allied forces invaded Europe. Among them was 56-year-old General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.. His lionheart was dicky and he was plagued with arthritis, thanks to his injuries in the Great War (to End All Wars), but TR's eldest cub was there. His Medal of Honor citation explains better than I ever could what he did there at Normandy, shortly before his death of a heart attack, on the 13th of July.
"For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the callof duty on 6 June 1644, in France. After 2 verbal requests to accompany the leadingassault elements in the Normandy invasion had been denied, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt'swritten request for this mission was approved and he landed with the first wave of the forces assaulting the enemy-held beaches. He repeatedly led groups from the beach, over the seawall and established them inland. His valor, courage, and presencein the very front of the attack and his complete unconcern at being under heavy fire inspired the troops to heights of enthusiasm and self-sacrifice. Although the enemy hadthe beach under constant direct fire, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt moved from one locality toanother, rallying men around him, directed and personally led them against the enemy.Under his seasoned, precise, calm, and unfaltering leadership, assault troops reducedbeach strong points and rapidly moved inland with minimum casualties. He thuscontributed substantially to the successful establishment of the beachhead in France."