By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Iowa City

1. Ernie Pyle describes D-Day

Legendary Hoosier journalist Ernie Pyle arrived on the Normandy Beachhead a day after the invasion. This is how he described the D-Day invasion: "Submerged tanks and overturned boats and burned trucks and shell-shattered jeeps and sad little personal belongings were strewn all over these bitter sands. That plus the bodies of soldiers lying in rows covered with blankets, the toes of their shoes sticking up in a line as though on drill. And other bodies, uncollected, still sprawling grotesquely in the sand or half hidden by the high grass beyond the beach. That plus an intense, grim determination of work-weary men to get this chaotic beach organized and get all the vital supplies and the reinforcements moving more rapidly over it from the stacked-up ships standing in droves out to sea."

"Now that it is over it seems to me a pure miracle that we ever took the beach at all. For some of our units it was easy, but in this special sector where I am now our troops faced such odds that our getting ashore was like my whipping Joe Louis down to a pulp. Ashore, facing us, were more enemy troops than we had in our assault waves. The advantages were all theirs, the disadvantages all ours. The Germans were dug into positions that they had been working on for months, although these were not yet all complete. A one-hundred-foot bluff a couple of hundred yards back from the beach had great concrete gun emplacements built right into the hilltop. These opened to the sides instead of to the front, thus making it very hard for naval fire from the sea to reach them. They could shoot parallel with the beach and cover every foot of it for miles with artillery fire. Our only exits from the beach were several swales or valleys, each about one hundred yards wide. The Germans made the most of these funnel-like traps, sowing them with buried mines. They contained, also, barbed-wire entanglements with mines attached, hidden ditches, and machine guns firing from the slopes.

"In addition to these obstacles they had floating mines offshore, land mines buried in the sand of the beach, and more mines in checkerboard rows in the tall grass beyond the sand. And the enemy had four men on shore for every three men we had approaching the shore. And yet we got on."

2. Trump, Macron commemorate D-Day

President Trump said this at the D-Day battlefield today: “To the men that sit behind me and to the boys that rest in the field before me, your example will never grow old. Your legend will never die. To all of our friends and partners — our cherished alliance was forged in the heat of battle, tested in the trials of war and proven in the blessings of peace. Our bond is unbreakable.” French President Emmanuel Macron said, “We know what we owe America. America, dear President Donald Trump, is never as great as when it fights for the freedom of others. Today, France does not forget. We know what we owe to you veterans: Our freedom. On behalf of my nation, I just want to say thank you.

3. Hinge points in history

There are the hinge points in history ... July 2-4, 1776 with the Declaration of Independence, July 2-4, 1863 and the Battle of Gettysburg, and 75 years ago, D-Day, which is the closest inflection point that literally saved civilization. Without the success of D-Day, Nazi Germany would have become an atomic power within a year. Without Germany's defeat, the United States would almost certainly have faced a nuclear showdown in the years to follow. Many of us knew the men who parachuted behind enemy lines or assaulted Omaha Beach at a cost of 9,000 American lives that day. I hope our readers take some time to ponder this great sacrifice and to behold these 74 years of relative peace brought about by the Atlantic Alliance that appears to be crumbling in this era

4. Pence tariff negotiations

Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo conducted 90 minutes of negotiations  with Mexican envoys in hopes of staving off President Trump's Mexican tariffs. The talks will resume today. “Immigration discussions at the White House with representatives of Mexico have ended for the day. Progress is being made, but not nearly enough!” Trump tweeted. “If no agreement is reached, Tariffs at the 5% level will begin on Monday, with monthly increases as per schedule.” Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said tariffs were not specifically discussed  at Wednesday's meeting.

5. Young seeks to prevent Saudi arms sales

U.S. Sen. Todd Young joined a group of bipartisan senators seeking to derail $8 billion of arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE as President Trump tried an end-around Congress. “Congress has an essential oversight role  in the decision to sell weapons and we must ensure proper procedures are in place in any weapons transfer,” said Young. “In light of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen, we have an obligation to ensure the adequate guardrails are in place and that weapons transfers to Saudi Arabia & the United Arab Emirates do not exacerbate the conflict.”

It's good to see Sen. Young resume the Congressional oversight duties  as prescribed by the Constitution. It's The Atomic!