June 6: D-Day

On this day in 1944, the largest invasion in history began as the Allied armies assaulted the beaches of Normandy, France with 133,000 soldiers from England, Canada, and the United States. The war in Europe would not end until nearly one year after D-Day, but without a successful invasion on June 6th, the progress of the war and the final outcome certainly would have been different. As a result, if you were to talk about the single most influential day or moment in the 20th century, you would be hard pressed to find any more faithful day than June 6, 1944.

On the morning of June 6, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces General Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered the following “Order of the Day” to the Allied forces as they awaited their appointment with history:

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Forces: You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!

Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking. (1)

Thousands of copies of Eisenhower’s message were printed on small enough pieces of paper that soldiers could keep them in their wallets or breast pockets (2).

Image resultLike the Gettysburg Address, which was only 272 words, Eisenhower wrote a concise message of only 238 words.  In language that was forceful, honest, and direct, he clearly presented the mission and its importance to each soldier, sailor, and airman.

As well as planning for victory on D-Day, Eisenhower also had the unpleasant task of preparing for defeat. One day before D-Day, Eisenhower wrote out the following brief message on a piece of paper:

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 upon 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 (3).

The term D-Day was originally a general military term that referred to the day on which a combined attack would take place, especially when that day needed to be kept secret. Because of the enormous size and success of the Normandy assault, however, today D-Day has become synonymous with one specific day:  June 6, 1944.

Today’s Challenge:  Micro Motivational Message
What is a situation in which a single leader might address a group of people with a short motivational message?What would be specific examples of a speaker/leader, a group, and the group’s mission?  Brainstorm some possible situations in which a leader might address a group with a specific mission.  Select a single situation, and write your message of approximately 250 words. Write in the persona of the specific leader writing the specific motivational words that the leader might present to help his or her audience succeed in their mission.

Examples:

-A teacher speaking to a class about how to succeed on the final test.

-A coach speaking to his or her team about how to win a big game.

-A manager talking to his or her sales team about how to break sales records for the month.

-A band leader talking to his or her group about how to play the best gig ever.

-A mayor talking to town citizens about how to make their town great.

(Common Core Writing 1 – Argument)

Quotation of the Day: Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. -Dwight D. Eisenhower

1-https://www.archives.gov/historical-docs/todays-doc/?dod-date=606

2-http://www.anythinganywhere.com/commerce/military/usa-ike-dday.jpg

3-http://www.npr.org/2013/06/08/189535104/the-speech-eisenhower-never-gave-on-the-normandy-invasion

June 2:  D-Day Crossword

Today is the anniversary of the publication of a crossword puzzle that might have altered the outcome of World War II. In the spring of 1944 plans were being drawn up for the Allied invasion of France. This highly secretive plan was dubbed Operation Overlord by Winston Churchill, and the invasion was set for June 5, 1944 by the commander of the operation General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The element of surprise was vital for the success of the invasion, but in May of 1944, British intelligence officers discovered that one of the Daily Telegraph’s crossword puzzles contained two important code names for the beaches of Normandy: Utah and Omaha.

The military became even more concerned when on June 2, 1944, three days before the planned invasion, a crossword puzzle appeared with the name Overlord and NeptuneNeptune was the name of the secret naval operations plan. The author of the puzzle, a schoolmaster by the name of Leonard Dawe, was arrested and questioned. Investigators were unable, however, to determine any explanation, besides coincidence, for the presence of the words in the puzzle.

Forty years after D-Day the mystery was finally solved when National Geographic discovered that one of Leonard Dawe’s pupils had been eavesdropping on the conversations of Allied soldiers and had noted the words, not for malicious reasons, but simply because he thought the words were odd enough to work well in his teacher’s crossword puzzles (1).

Today’s Challenge:  Micro-Crossword Puzzles
What are some examples of related words that have an odd number of letters and that share the same middle letter?  The following are examples of Micro-Crossword Puzzles:  two related words that each have an odd number of letters and that share the same middle letter.  This shared middle letter allows the words to be crossed.

-What are two countries with five-letter country names with the middle letter I?  Answer:  China and Haiti.

-Who are two Nobel Prize-winning American authors with nine-letter last names with the same middle letter N?  Answer:  Steinbeck and Hemingway.

-Who are two American presidents with five-letter last names with the same middle letter A?  Answer:  Grant and Obama

Write at least three of your own Micro-Crossword Puzzles.  Begin selecting a category; then, brainstorm some words in that category.  Your words don’t have to have the same number of letters, but the two words do have to have an odd number of letters and they need to share the same middle letter.

Sample Categories:

Mythological Characters
U.S. Capitals
Literary Characters
Classic Movies
Grammar Terms
Poetry Terms
Computer Jargon
Rhetorical Devices
Holidays
Elements on the Periodic Table
(Common Core Language)

Quotation of the Day:  As human beings, we have a natural compulsion to fill empty spaces. -Will Shortz

1 – National Geographic