WASHINGTON -- Sixty-four years ago this week, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt came on the radio and implored Americans to "devote themselves in a continuance of prayer invoking thy help to our efforts." The "effort" of which he spoke was Operation Overlord, the D-Day landing of 150,000 American and Allied troops at Normandy. The risks were so great that Winston Churchill told the people of Britain: "The invasion has been launched. The result is with God." FDR described it as "a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our republic, our religion and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity."
Since then, those who fought their way ashore June 6, 1944, and successfully breached Hitler's Atlantic Wall have been honored justifiably for their participation in the momentous event. On the 40th anniversary of the operation, Ronald Reagan stood on that "lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France" and spoke of that "giant undertaking unparalleled in human history" and praised "the boys of Pointe du Hoc the heroes who helped end a war."
But that was then; and this is now. This year, the anniversary of their achievement received little notice in the so-called mainstream media. Perhaps that's because it would draw uncomfortable parallels between those who stormed the coast of France in 1944 and those who are fighting now -- and winning -- a war against radical Islam. Unlike those who braved their way into Hitler's Fortress Europe, the young Americans fighting today's battles reap few accolades from the potentates of the press or the liberal "leadership" in Washington.
Last month, Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., described those now serving in our armed forces as "mercenaries" and claimed "we're buying them now." Apparently taking a page from Sen. John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign playbook, McDermott believes the young Americans winning this generation's war are those who could not get jobs or get into school. McDermott, you may recall, once was willing to negotiate -- without preconditions -- with Saddam Hussein. Now he is co-sponsoring legislation to require compulsory military conscription.
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who has asserted false claims of flying combat missions in Vietnam, routinely denigrates many of those serving in today's all-volunteer military. Two weeks ago, in attacking Sen. John McCain, Harkin observed, "It's one thing to have been drafted and served but another thing when you come from generations of military people and that's just how you're steeped, how you've learned, how you've grown up."
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.