It’s impossible to sit here in 2022 and think about June 6, 1944 and what American and allied forces faced as they made their way onto the beaches of Normandy, France under orders from Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to accept “nothing less than full Victory!” against the Germans.
Men went into water that ranged from waist-deep to over a man’s head. Machine-gun fire rains down from the bluffs where Germans sat in concrete bunkers spraying bullets at tens of thousands of soldiers just trying to get to that beach.
It’s estimated by historians that 4,414 brave allied souls lost their lives on June 6, 1944 carrying out Eisenhower’s orders.
Private Carlton W. Barrett — 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division — was one of the lucky ones. The 5’4″, 125-pound 24-year-old survived. And he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on that day.
For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 6 June 1944, in the vicinity of St. Laurent-sur-Mer, France. On the morning of D-day Pvt. Barrett, landing in the face of extremely heavy enemy fire, was forced to wade ashore through neck-deep water.
Disregarding the personal danger, he returned to the surf again and again to assist his floundering comrades and save them from drowning. Refusing to remain pinned down by the intense barrage of small-arms and mortar fire poured at the landing points, Pvt. Barrett, working with fierce determination, saved many lives by carrying casualties to an evacuation boat Iying offshore.
In addition to his assigned mission as guide, he carried dispatches the length of the fire-swept beach; he assisted the wounded; he calmed the shocked; he arose as a leader in the stress of the occasion. His coolness and his dauntless daring courage while constantly risking his life during a period of many hours had an inestimable effect on his comrades and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.
Barrett was one of four men who received the Medal of Honor that day. He was the only one who survived the war. He died in 1986 at 66 years old.
“It was after that that I knew what a hero really is. They are all heroes just for being there – especially those that never came back. Memorial Day and D-Day are good days to remember them,” Barrett said later in life.
• Nick C. in Miami, Florida writes:
Today on the 78th Anniversary of D-Day I’d like to express my gratitude for those brave souls that stormed the beaches of Normandy. Very few of us can even begin to fathom the horrors they experienced in the selfless effort to bring freedom to millions of enslaved people.
The greatest honor of my life came in 2019 when I visited the American Cemetery in Normandy. Paying tribute to the true heroes, those who are buried and resting in eternal peace in that sacred soil.
The emotion of seeing the rows upon rows of crosses and Stars of David brought me to a point of uncontrollable sobbing. It was in that moment when the reality that “freedom isn’t free” hit home. We as Americans and freedom-loving people cannot allow their sacrifice to have been in vain.
Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.
Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.
Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.
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7 CommentsLeave a Reply
Thank you for this post.
Thanks Joe great post on this heroic day where many of those young kids knew they would never come back but went anyway lets never forget.
These are what real heroes look like. They definitely “Did Hard Things”.
I’ll be retiring from the Air Force in a couple of months and I feel like those guys gave more in 1 day than I did in 20 years of service. I am forever grateful for their sacrifice.
Best article of the year!
Great article. Unfortunately, young people today have no appreciation for the sacrifice and courage displayed by these individuals. The woke are trying to rewrite history so we forget about what people did to make this country great. There are no words to convey the courage these soldiers had and how much we all should appreciate what they did for us. God bless them.