The bravery of American, Canadian, British, French and other Allied troops on D-Day, June 6, 1944, cannot be disputed. It stands as one of the seminal events of human history, when a small number of humans risked their collective lives to free a much larger number from the tyranny of evil.
But the legacy of D-Day still lives with us, because the work to get there was done over just a few short years when America became the world’s productive powerhouse.
The invasion of northern Europe was conducted with 6,900 ships and landing craft, 50,000 vehicles, 11,500 planes, and 156,000 troops from 12 nations. By far over every other nation, every Allied nut, bolt, propeller, hull and shell was made in America.
Not only that, but we were also applying about 15% of our productive capacity to fight the Japanese Imperial Navy and Army in the Pacific.
In 1944, by June 6, the Navy commissioned 24 aircraft carriers, most of them Casablanca-class escorts, but also including three Essex-class full sized carriers: the Franklin, Hancock and Ticonderoga. These carriers served for years past WWII. The Ticonderoga served until 1973 and was scrapped in 1975.
Remember, this was all in addition to the ships, aircraft and vehicles (far more) that were manufactured to prosecute the war in Europe.
And at home, Americans produced war goods while they also had lives free from most threats. Movies such as Gaslight, Double Indemnity, Arsenic and Old Lace, Captain America (!), Murder, My Sweet, and National Velvet were produced and released in 1944.
These were made while we also made war films, and fought a war on two fronts.
June 6, 1944 was the zenith of American production, and the fate of the war was really never in doubt. Only the timing and the number of casualties was unknown.
The true legacy of D-Day is that America still has that spirit to make everything we need–that the world needs–in time of trouble. Let’s dwell on our qualities and our commitment to each other this day.