Big Chuck Remembers His Visit to the D-Day Landing in Normandy (VIDEO)
On this, the 70th anniversary of the landing at Normandy, I cannot help but reflect back on my own visit to this hallowed place.
In 2008, my wife Trish and I visited Normandy. It was the culmination of a lifelong dream for me.
We walked the beaches of Normandy, visited the small villages that were occupied and then freed. We toured the museums and visited the cemeteries. It was a sobering journey.
My clearest memory is of our visit to Pointe du Hoc. This is where the cliffs rise dramatically above Omaha Beach. After the early morning naval shelling by the Allies, the ground forces were sent in.
It was the largest amphibious assault in the history of modern warfare. I envisioned the Higgins boats, loaded with America's finest young men, bobbing up and down in the rough seas as they closed in on the beach. I could almost hear the relentless chatter of the German machine guns as they fired down on our "sitting ducks." Those that made it to the beach were met by the forbidding cliffs.
The U.S. Ranger Assault Team scaled the cliffs, beat back the murderous enemy fire on top and won the day. But not without a cost. Of the 225 men in the original assault team, only 90 survived.
God Bless the men of D-day and all who served in the Greatest Generation.