This week Rodders thinks about D-Day.
In 1944, in the midst of the Second World War, the tide was turning.
Allied forces joined together to mount a formidable attack on the beaches of Normandy — their aim being to reclaim France from German occupation.
Meticulously planned and two years in the making, it was still a huge risk — if the attack didn’t pay off, Hitler would have had the opportunity to pull together a German offensive, launching his new V-weapons against British cities.
Operation Overlord started on 6 June 1944, the day known as D-Day, and it would continue for three crucial months.
Living here in the Solent, we have both Southwick House, where they planned D-Day, and the new D-Day museum in Southsea, both well worth a visit.
This year we will be remembering the 76th anniversary of D-Day.
However, on April 13, 2020, the French State decided to forbid public gatherings and the organisation of festivals until mid-July 2020 due to the Covid-19 health crisis and the annual Southwick Village D-Day Revival will also not now take place.
Around 2 million British, American and Canadian Service members were part of Operation Overlord. Over 150,000 men made up the Allied invasion force and 21,000 lost their lives during Operation Overlord.
D-Day was very important; it was the turning point. It was a day of Liberation, however, the ‘D’ doesn’t stand for anything specific. It doesn’t stand for Deliverance, Doom or Demarcation or similar words. The ‘D’ derives from the word Day.
I like to think of it as Decision Day.
Four years ago in June was another momentous day; the day the country decided whether to remain in the EU or not. It was another day of decision. As you know, 52% opted to leave against 48% who wanted to remain. We are still seeing the domino effect of that result but things seem to have gone very quiet about Brexit, as the major news item is the coronavirus pandemic.
D-Day 1944 and Referendum Day 2016 could be classed as turning point days.
Reading old reproduced newspaper reports of D-Day the importance of prayer struck me. King George VI said, “4 years ago our nation and Empire stood alone against an overwhelming enemy, with our backs to the wall. Tested as never before in our history, in God’s providence we survived that test …” (Daily Mail).
Towards the end of his speech the King said, “We are not unmindful of our own shortcomings, past and present. We shall ask not that God may do our will, but that we may be enabled to do the will of God and dare to believe that God has used our nation and Empire as an instrument for fulfilling His high purpose. I hope that throughout the present crisis of the liberation of Europe there may be offered up earnest, continuous and widespread prayer”.
None of us knows when our time will come. We need to be ready. A verse in the book of Hebrews says, “let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching”. [Hebrews 10v25] The Day here is a capital D. Not just any day, but the day when the Lord, as he promised, will return.
Dalton McGuinty said, “There’s no wrong time to make the right decision”.
So, the Thought for Today is ‘have you had a decision day?’
Can we all point to a D-Day, a Decision Day, when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour?
If not, as Paul writing to the church at Corinth wrote, “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation” [2 Cor 6v2], and the writer in Hebrews says, “do not harden your heart” [Hebrews 3v7].