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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 6, 2014 / 8 Sivan, 5774

D-Day, the 6th of June 1944: How a New Orleans boatbuilder put history's mightiest invasion force ashore

By Wesley Pruden




JewishWorldReview.com | In mortal dread of the storm they knew was coming, soldiers of Hitler's Wehrmacht waited in reinforced concrete bunkers on the bluffs above Omaha Beach. This was the long-anticipated D-Day, the 6th of June, 1944. They looked anxiously for signs of something moving.

Occasionally a soldier thought he saw that something, but through the night there was nothing there but the dark boiling sea. Then, at 5:20 a.m., Maj. Werner Muskat, commander of an artillery battery, stepped up to the slit, and the color drained from his face. "It's the invasion," he said softly. "There must be 10,000 ships out there."

Another officer shook his head. "The enemy doesn't have 10,000 ships." The major stepped aside. "Come up here and see for yourself then, the 10,000 ships you say are not there."

Gathered before him in the first light of dawn was a spectacle not likely ever to be seen again, the greatest invasion force of history: 5,000 allied ships (exaggeration was understandable), a line of cruisers and destroyers and behind them the battlewagons Arkansas, Texas and Nevada, and hundreds of transport ships with decks awash with 2,727 wooden landing boats. Over the next 24 hours the boats would take 156,000 American, British and Free French soldiers to the bloody work of liberating Europe.

The landing boats were the work of a New Orleans boat-builder, a profane, hard-drinking, hard-driving, stubborn, impatient red-haired Irishman named Andrew Jackson Higgins. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who commanded the invasion and would become the 33rd president of the United States, called Higgins "the man who won the war for us."

Getting these 2,727 boats to the beach was what the mighty armada was about, with 36 soldiers in each boat. Each man carried 70 pounds of gear, including seven sticks of chewing gum, K-rations, a tin of canned heat, chewing tobacco, cigarettes, 12 seasick pills and two vomit bags). The Navy called the Higgins boat, 60 feet long and 11 feet wide, an LCVP, for landing craft, vehicles and personnel, and gave them numbers, not names. The men who rode them to Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno and Sword (and later to the beaches of the South Pacific) never called them anything but "Higgins boats."

The boat was driven by a 225-horsepower Gray Diesel engine and the unique design enabled it to operate fully loaded, with up to four tons of cargo, in water as shallow as 18 inches deep. This gave it freedom of movement no other landing boat could match. The genius of design was a hull shaped like an inverted-V at the bow, with a concave hull amidships which pushed away logs and driftwood and the foamy water that stalled a propeller. A solid block of oak or hickory at the bow, called "the head log," enabled it to run at full speed over floating obstacles and sandbars.

The hull was fashioned of three-quarter inch pine plywood crafted over a skeleton of Philippine mahogany. Higgins, who never went to college and taught himself marine design, had been building boats for fishermen, timber men and oil prospectors to maneuver through the sluggish bayous and marshes of southern Louisiana. He built swift boats for rumrunners during Prohibition and swifter boats for the Coast Guard to chase them, and then still faster boats for the rumrunners to outrun the Coast Guard. He was an equal-opportunity boatbuilder.

He fought Navy admirals to get them to accept his design. In sea trials, many conducted on Lake Pontchartrain above New Orleans, the admirals' boats sank, and the Higgins boats didn't. But not until he made common cause with the Marines did his boat win out, and just in time.

The boats for D-Day were built in seven boatyards in New Orleans. Gen. Eisenhower, having scoured the South Pacific unsuccessfully to scrounge spare boats from the Marines, delayed D-Day, first planned for May, to give the boatyards time to build enough boats for the invasion.

Higgins organized a school in New Orleans at his own expense to teach the Coast Guardsmen to get the most out of his boats. On the morning of June 6 the landing boats were organized in a pattern 12 boats off the bow of a mother ship, 12 to starboard and 12 astern, with a matching configuration on the opposite side of the mother ship.

They raced to the beaches in tight formations at top speed under fire from German batteries, communicating without radios, cell phones or beepers — neither Twitter nor Facebook — nothing to guide but navigation flags of the accompanying control boats obscured in the mist of the morning and the smoke of battle.

By 10:30 on the night of June 6, immortalized as "the longest day," the beachheads were secure. Higgins had taken 30,000 men ashore with their machines, and in the hours following thousands more would join them.

Higgins, who had fought his own bitter war in Washington for his design, was in Chicago when thousands of civilians rushed into Michigan Avenue to snap up extras of the Chicago newspapers announcing that the liberation of Europe was at hand. Higgins dispatched a telegram to be read to the workers in his boatyards: "This is the day for which we have been waiting," he said. "Now the work of our hands, our hearts and our heads is being put to the test. We may all be inspired by the news that the first landings on the Continent were made by the Allies in our boats."

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© 2014 Wesley Pruden

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