As we all know, General Dwight Eisenhower ordered the very successful World War II invasion of France on D-Day June 6, 1944. The resulting victory in Europe by the Allies helped secure the freedom for us as well as for countless citizens around the world.
The decision to invade must have been a very difficult one for the General. He knew many thousands of young men would not return and the weather was not favorable. However, he knew he must make a decision and so gave the order.
What I did not know until just recently was that General Eisenhower had written the following note, to be used in case the invasion failed:
Our landings have failed and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.
This handwritten note says a lot about the man. He was ready to accepted full and complete responsibility for failure. He would not blame the weather, the Germans, the Navy. The fault was his and his alone.
I think the freedom we cherish in America stems from men and women like Dwight Eisenhower who, since the American Revolution, made critical decisions and accepted the blame for failure when failure came. Such men and women are leaders in every sense of the word.
Can we not carry Ike’s lesson into our daily lives? Do you accept full responsibility for your actions, and your mistakes? Or are you quick to blame others for your faults? We are all human and we all make mistakes. If the greatest general in World War II can be ready to take full responsibility for what might have been the worst failure in history, can we not take full responsibility for our failures?