D-Day – June 6, 1944

Today’s Post is a departure from our normal “Leading With Questions” content to pay special tribute to 2 of the 176,000 brave warriors, who 75 years ago today, on June 6, 1944 stormed the beaches of Normandy, France – my Dad, Arnett Tiede and my Father-in-law, Bob Faulkner.

It was the largest amphibious invasion in the history of warfare. On June 6, 1944, more than 176,000 brave young soldiers from the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada stormed the beaches of Normandy, France in a bold strategy to push the Nazis out of Western Europe and turn the tide of the war for good.

4,414 men made the ultimate sacrifice that day! 2,501 were Americans and 1,913 were Allies.

World War II was the deadliest military conflict in history.  An estimated total of 70–85 million people perished, which was about 3% of the 1940 world population (est. 2.3 billion)

D-Day – June 6, 1944 was a day that changed the course of history! 

None of us want to imagine what our world would be like today if Nazi Germany had not been defeated.

11 months later on May 8, 1945 the war was over!  Nazi Germany had been defeated!

Occasionally, when I share that both my Dad and Father-in-law made the Normandy Invasion, I am asked if they survived?    I respond by pointing out the obvious – since both my wife Sherry and  I were born after the World War II – we would not be here if they had not!

On June 6, 1944, Sherry’s Dad, Bob Faulkner (1923-2012), made the Normandy invasion.  He was in the first wave to hit the Omaha Beach.  He wrote about that morning:

“All we could see was thousands of ships all around us.  6:30 was H-hour for Utah beach and we started in for Omaha Beach at 7:10.  The first thing when we got close to shore and as the ramps were going down, they fired on our boat.  Some of the boys that were first out of the door didn’t even have a chance.  I was about the 15th off the left side, and just in front of me were the machine gunners.  The machine gunners were all wounded.  I carried a mine detector.  We were just put off in the water that came up to our necks, because obstacles were out in the water and the boats could not get in.  We had to go 60 yards under machine gun fire, to get to the high water line.  A lot of the boys didn’t make it.  I guess I was just Lucky!”

My Dad, Arnett Tiede (1914-2005), who served with the 90th Division, also made the invasion, but was not in the first waves to hit the beach.  The beaches were secured by the time he landed and began to fight his way inland.  Early on the morning of June 11, 1944 my Dad was wounded.  As he lay on the battlefield that morning he thought this was it—that that day would be his last.  He had no idea that God had ordained 65 more years for him!  He was very relieved when the medic arrived and told him he would survive.

My Dad was in France when the war ended on May 8, 1945.  There were several weeks between the end of the war and transport home to the U.S.  During that time Dad had opportunity to go back to Normandy to the cemetery that had already been established.  As Dad walked among all those white crosses he found the graves of several of his buddies and several boys from our hometown – Parkston, South Dakota.  Dad shared that it seemed so unfair—he was going home in a few days, but these boys were never going home.  He made a commitment that day to live a life that would honor their incredible sacrifices.  All who knew my Dad would agree that he indeed lived a life that honored their sacrifices.

My Dad and Father-in-law were both apart of that “Great Generation” who freed the world from the grip of Nazi Germany and then returned home to raise families and to greatly contribute to their communities.

My Father-in-law owned Faulkner Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning for 45 years.  He could fix anything and certainly all the things I could not!  Sherry always had a “Dad To-Do List” for  whenever he and Mom came to visit to fix all the things “Husband Could Not!”  Her Dad worked hard and was a man of integrity.  Everyone who knew him still misses him.

My Dad returned home to become a successful farmer as well as running a successful insurance agency.  He was the President of G.M. (No not that G.M – but the President of a 3 county farm mutual fire insurance company called German Mutual!)  For many years he taught Sunday School at our church.  There are so many things I learned from him. During my Mom’s final four year battle with Alzheimer’s, he showed me and all who knew him what it means to be fully committed to your spouse as he devoted 100% of himself to her care.  He too is greatly missed!

Sherry and I are both so proud of our Dads and their service not just to our country – but to our world!  We thank the Lord that they survived when so many did not.  Neither of us or our children or grandchildren would be here to day if they had not.

“There is a taste to freedom for those who fought and almost died that the protected will never know!” Penned on the wall of the prison our Vietnam Prisoners of War called the Hanoi Hilton

Our Dads knew that taste.  They knew that “Freedom is never free!”

Bob Tiede

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bob has been on the staff of Cru for 48 years. He currently serves on the U.S. Leadership Development Team and is passionate about seeing leaders grow and multiply their effectiveness. Bob and his wife, Sherry, live in Plano, TX and are blessed with 4 incredible children and 6 remarkable grandchildren.

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4 thoughts on “D-Day – June 6, 1944

  1. Diane Sather says:

    I have in awe these last few days, hearing from the survivors of D Day. I am proud to know the family of those who fought for our country to keep our freedom. This should be a reminder to all Americans, just how blessed we are!

    1. Bob Tiede says:

      Thank you Diane Sather! Tears dripped from my eyes as I put this post together!

  2. Myron says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the story. When I met your dad, our fathers were so much like brothers, and i so much enjoyed the time we spent together.

    1. Bob Tiede says:

      Myron, it was my pleasure! Our Fathers were indeed like brothers! I miss them both!

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