JUNE 5, 1944--SOMEWHERE IN ENGLAND
63 years ago today, the Third Army was assembled at an undisclosed location in England on the eve of the greatest military operation in the history of warfare. In less than 24 hours, the D-Day invasion would be underway. Code named: Overlord.
On this morning, Lt. General George S. Patton, Jr., would stand before the men of Third Army and deliver what has come to be known as "The Speech." In this speech, Patton tells the men what they can expect to face as they land on the shores of France. He talked about their training, their duty to country, honor, and about being scared. The men knew they were about to become part of history; Patton was there to assure them that when the time came for battle, they'd know what to do.
These men had waited a long time for this day. They were prepared to do their duty, to lay down their lives, and they knew full well that some of them wouldn't live to tell the story.
Patton's speech was never recorded, except for notes taken by an "unknown soldier." Those notes, along with reference materials gathered from many sources, were compiled to reconstruct the events of that morning. It's truly the greatest speech Patton ever delivered. From "The Speech":
"The big camp buzzed with a tension. For hundreds of eager rookies, newly arrived from the states, it was a great day in their lives. This day marked their first taste of the "real thing". Now they were not merely puppets in brown uniforms. They were not going through the motions of soldiering with three thousand miles of ocean between them and English soil. They were actually in the heart of England itself. They were waiting for the arrival of that legendary figure, Lieutenant General George S. Patton, Jr. Old "Blood and Guts" himself, about whom many a colorful chapter would be written for the school boys of tomorrow. Patton of the brisk, purposeful stride. Patton of the harsh, compelling voice, the lurid vocabulary, the grim and indomitable spirit that carried him and his Army to glory in Africa and Sicily. They called him "America's Fightingest General". He was no desk commando. He was the man who was sent for when the going got rough and a fighter was needed. He was the most hated and feared American of all on the part of the German Army."
Continuing reading...scroll down to Part 2, "The Speech."