A Bad RehearsalIssue: Fall 1994
From the perspective of half a century and through the nostalgic tints of commemorative ceremonies, the Overlord invasion of Normandy has assumed an air of inevitability. This summer's anniversary procession made inspirational stops at all the D-Day ports of call: the five invasion beaches: Gold, Juno, Sword, Utah, Omaha; the Rangers' seizure of Pointe du Hoc; the airborne assault at Ste. Mre ƒglise. In some danger of being lost amid the ritual was the boldness, the fragility, the risk of the original undertaking, and the awful foreboding that had driven Eisenhower to draft--and carry in his wallet for a month after D-Day--a statement in case of disaster:
"Our landings...have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available...if any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone."
Eisenhower had good reason to worry.