“If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.” So wrote Dwight David Eisenhower, supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force landing in Normandy on June 6, 1944. On the eve of the greatest military endeavor in history, Eisenhower understood the deep responsibility of command. The decision to commit 150,000 men, 5,000 ships and countless aircraft to the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi oppression was his. In the face of a determined enemy and horrific weather, he told his assembled lieutenants, “OK, we’ll go!”
From a humble beginning in the heartland of America, Eisenhower rose to the highest echelon of military command, proved himself the master of coalition warfare during World War II, and engendering the confidence of the American people in his ability to lead them through the earliest days of the Cold War, was twice elected president. He never shrank from a challenge but discharged his duty with an earnest will and an unforgettably broad grin. It was easy to like Ike.
Dwight Eisenhower placed the success of the mission ahead of any personal reward or gain. In doing so, he defined leadership by example, and he shouldered the great weight of responsibility that came with it like no other individual in the 20th century.
– Michael Haskew, author of “West Point 1915: Eisenhower, Bradley, and the Class the Stars Fell On”