Tag Archives: Normandy

Trump ‘insults’ Canadians … nice!

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has some strong thoughts about Donald Trump’s decision to impose punishing tariffs on Canadian steel sent to the United States.

He said: “Our soldiers who had fought and died together on the beaches of World War II … and the mountains of Afghanistan, and have stood shoulder to shoulder in some of the most difficult places in the world, that are always there for each other, somehow — this is insulting to them.”

At a personal level, Trudeau has taken serious offense to the president’s curious decision to go to “war” against the nation with which the United States shares the longest unsecured border in the world.

Yes, Canadians fought alongside Americans and Brits at Normandy. Curiously, we are about to honor the D-Day invasion in a few days.

Sure, Trump recognizes the longstanding alliance between the United States and Canada. Then he said our allies are taking advantage of us in trade. His response is to get back at them; impose these tariffs in a classic protectionist move.

Trudeau is looking for some sign of “common sense,” but says he cannot find it in the policy announced by the “U.S. administration.”

Well, Mr. Prime Minister, a lot of Americans are just as confused as you are. Let us know when common sense presents itself.

They fought to save the world

On June 6, 1984, President Ronald Reagan went to the Normandy coast of France to honor the 40th anniversary of the invasion that took place there.

He paid tribute to “the boys of Pointe du Hoc,” the U.S. Army Rangers who scaled the cliffs overlooking Omaha Beach on that horrifying day.

They had sailed across the English Channel to free Europe from tyranny.

Thirty-two years after that memorial commemoration, President Reagan’s speech is worth watching yet again.

I won’t try to glorify it here.

These men saved the world. God bless them all.


For Yogi … it’s over


Yogi Berra once reportedly said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

Indeed, the New York Yankees legend said a lot of interesting things during his long and colorful life. Well, for the great Yankees catcher, it’s over.

Yogi died today at age 90.

50 greatest quotes

Whether he said all those goofy thing, muttered those mangled malaprops, it doesn’t really matter. He once said he didn’t say “most of the things I said.”

But let’s put this man’s life and ability into a bit of perspective, shall we?

Berra served in the Navy during World War II. One of his tours was at a place called Normandy Beach, France, where he served as a gunner’s mate on an attack transport during the invasion.

One does not draw that kind of assignment by being a numbskull.

A dozen years later, Berra was the catcher while his teammate — pitcher Don Larsen — threw a perfect game in the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Berra’s task in that historic game was to call the pitches that Larsen would throw.

Catchers generally serve as a sort of surrogate manager on the field of play. They are the only position players who can see the entire field on every play.

One doesn’t draw that assignment, either, by being a dummy.

Yogi Berra made a name for himself first and foremost by being a great baseball player. The other stuff, the goofy statements? He might have said some of those things.

It was part of his shtick.

Anchor's problems mounting

It’s beginning to look as though the reporting of a controversy — more than the actual controversy — well might doom the career of a once-trusted broadcast network journalist.

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams has stepped away from the cameras for an unspecified period of time, while the chatter continues about the circumstances of his made-up story about getting shot down — allegedly — in Iraq in 2003. His helicopter wasn’t hit by rocket fire, as he has reported for a dozen years and the network is launching an investigation into the circumstances of Williams’ “misremembering” the events of that day.


Other questions about other stories have emerged.

And now we have media experts speculating aloud about whether Williams should lose his job, whether he should stay, and whether he’s lost the trust of viewers who depend on their TV journalists to tell the truth all the time.

According to The Associated Press: “The real difficulty for a news organization, or a reporter, is that once you’ve made one misstep, it’s really hard to earn (trust) back,” said David Westin, former ABC News president. “You can. But it takes a lot of time. It takes a long period of time with proven performances. It takes a long time of getting it right.”

Here’s the issue, as I see it: All the intense publicity and scrutiny and all the questions that have risen from this matter have damaged Williams’ reputation, perhaps beyond repair. Suppose he emerges from the examination squeaky clean. How does he recover from the millions of snarky comments, the late-night comics’ jokes and not mention the photo-shopped videos that have gone viral showing him landing on the moon, storming ashore at Normandy or planting the flag atop the hill on Iwo Jima?

The nation has made him a laughingstock — and not necessarily because of what has been alleged in the beginning, but because of the reaction to it.

Williams may have become as much a victim of social media as he has of the wounds his ego have inflicted on his career.


Ike's 'other' D-Day message

We’ve been marking the 70th anniversary of the landing at Normandy, France.

On June 6, 1944, American, British, Canadian and other Allied troops stormed ashore and began the liberation of Europe from Nazi tyranny.

It would end in victory nearly a year later when Germany would surrender, ending the European combat operations in World War II.

U.S. Army Gen. Dwight Eisenhower was the supreme commander of Allied forces that landed in France. He announced to the world the fact that the landing had occurred and that the men were marching inland.

He had another message he never had to deliver. It was brief. It was folded in his wallet. It said:

“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air, and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

This note is worth mentioning because it embodies the finest qualities of a leader.

Gen. Eisenhower was that man.

Yes, they were heroes

They’re old now. They’re in their late 80s or in their 90s.

They once were young, full of eager anticipation and they wanted to fight for their country. They had joined the fight of their lives to save the world from tyranny.

And 70 years ago, on June 6, 1944, thousands of them jumped out of landing craft and ran ashore at Normandy, France to liberate Europe from the Nazis who had occupied the continent.

Some of them returned to that beach today to remember the chaos, the blood, the sacrifice and what they did on behalf of the world.

Many of them don’t consider themselves heroes. Many of us who came along later will disagree vehemently with that view.

They surely were heroes. They are heroes to this day.

It was called “D-Day.” Why that name? There was no symbolism, no hidden meaning. It’s commonly accepted that “D-Day” meant merely, well, that was the day of the massive amphibious assault.

Was the assault performed without a hitch? Hardly. There were mistakes all along the huge front. Landing craft opened up and men drowned in too-deep water. Airborne troops flown in behind the German lines were dropped in wrong locations. Chaos ensued.

The men persevered. They fought their way off the beaches, facing deadly small arms fire and a determined enemy.

These heroes were not to be denied.

They are old now and they are leaving this world at a quickening pace.

But oh, how we owe them for what they did seven decades ago.

They are heroes. All of them.