A D-Day Anniversary Salute to America’s Veterans

by Bob Johnson 0

On this day in 1944, Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower gave the go-ahead for the largest amphibious military operation in history: Operation Overlord — code named D-Day — the Allied invasion of northern France.

By daybreak, 18,000 British and American parachutists were already on the ground. An additional 13,000 aircraft were mobilized to provide air cover and support for the invasion. At 6:30 a.m., American troops came ashore at Utah and Omaha beaches.

The British and Canadians overcame light opposition to capture Gold, Juno and Sword beaches; so did the Americans at Utah. The task was much tougher at Omaha beach, however, where the U.S. First Division battled high seas, mist, mines, burning vehicles and German coastal batteries, including an elite infantry division which spewed heavy fire. Many wounded Americans ultimately drowned in the high tide. British divisions, which landed at Gold, Juno and Sword beaches, and Canadian troops also met with heavy German fire.

But by day’s end, 155,000 Allied troops — Americans, British and Canadians — had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches and were then able to push inland. Within three months, the northern part of France would be freed and the invasion force would be preparing to enter Germany, where they would meet up with Soviet forces moving in from the east.

Though D-Day did not go off exactly as planned, the invasion was a decided success. By the end of June, the Allies had 850,000 men and 150,000 vehicles in Normandy and were poised to continue their march across Europe.

As we mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, we also take time to recognize the contributions of bowling’s oldest charity. The Bowlers to Veterans Link was established during the year before D-Day, and ever since has focused on the wellbeing of America’s veterans and active-duty military personnel.

Recreation therapy — designed to maintain or improve physical, mental and emotional well-being as well as reduce depression, stress and anxiety — has been the hallmark of BVL’s programming, helping veterans maintain or recover basic motor functioning and reasoning abilities, and build confidence and socialization skills.

To that end, BVL dollars have funded the purchase and use of sports equipment, arts and crafts supplies, pet therapy activities, games, dance, drama, music and community outings at VA Medical Centers, Vet Centers and State Homes around the nation.

On the day we commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, we dedicate this issue of the BJI Cyber Report to the brave men and women who served our country in World War II and all other wars. You can show your appreciation for our veterans by making a donation to BVL at http://www.bowlforveterans.org/.

* Bill Strong, a World War II veteran and quite possibly Oklahoma’s oldest active bowler, celebrated his 99th birthday this week with, appropriately, his bowling friends at his side. The group organized a brief party for Strong during its regular Tuesday bowling outing at the Lanes at Coffee Creek in Owasso, Okla. Read about the celebration and more about Strong here: https://www.tulsaworld.com/news/still-going-strong-world-war-ii-veteran-at-still-active/article_c31b092d-ae0f-5383-8189-14560d7a7137.html



Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.

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