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If it had not been for a few storms, today should have been in the conversation to be a national holiday.

Yes, today, but weather instead made June 6 arguably the most important day of the 20th century.

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Jay Greeson

The original plan in 1944 was for Operation Overlord on this day — June 5 — but Dwight D. Eisenhower pushed it back 24 hours for a better forecast.

So on June 6, 1944, D-Day happened and the fate of the world was altered.

At a time when words are overblown and everything is the best or worst or the most or the least, think about that.

"The world was altered" on June 6. It was the beginning of the end for Germany, whether Hitler and his band of criminals knew it in the moment.

"You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months," Eisenhower told the troops (how did he tell them? letter? radio address?) as they prepared to storm the beaches at Normandy. "The eyes of the world are upon you."

Today's teenagers and 20-somethings play "Call of Duty"; 74 years ago, young men were asked to accept a call of duty that few could even imagine.

Brig. Gen. James Gavin told his paratroopers, "When you land in Normandy, you will have only one friend: God."

Amen.

Think of the fear. Think of the dread. Think of the sacrifice.

Now, think if they had failed.

It was the greatest moment of what was to become the Greatest Generation.

Their efforts did more than make history. They rewrote history.

For all the hand-wringing that dominates our country today, consider the unity of purpose that dominated this great nation 74 years ago.

If that type of commitment was required today, with the fractured state of our country, it's impossible to see how we could match that courage, spirit and unity.

And that may be our biggest problem.

Either way, that greatness should be forever celebrated. And honored.

To those who delivered for the rest of us, all we can say is thank you.

Forget today being a national holiday. It should be a global one.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com and 423-757-6343.

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