Evangelical Leader Dr. Richard Land: Battle of Midway, Six-Day War and D-Day Are All Important Pages in American History
God’s Hand Was Evident Throughout, Says Southern Evangelical Seminary President
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Evangelical leader and Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu) President Dr. Richard Land says three important events that occurred this week in history are vitally important in the pages of America’s story.
Land has discussed the history of the Battle of Midway of World War II, the Six-Day War between Israel and her neighbors and the Allied Army’s landings at D-Day in Normandy on his daily radio feature, “Bringing Every Thought Captive.”
“This week, we commemorate a great American victory in World War II—the Battle of Midway—which was fought June 4-7, 1942,” Land said. “The Battle of Midway was just as decisive in the Pacific as the Normandy landings were in Europe. After the devastating Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese had gone from victory to victory in the Pacific—Guam, Wake, the Philippines. The Japanese then decided to attack Midway and to destroy the rest of the American Pacific fleet. Unknown to the Japanese, American Naval intelligence had broken enough of the Japanese code to discover the Japanese were going to attack Midway on June 4 or 5.
“Admiral Chester Nimitz sent his three carriers to lie in wait just east of the island and ambushed the Japanese invasion force,” Land continued. “When the Americans attacked the Japanese invasion force, the torpedo bombers were virtually obliterated; 36 of 42 American pilots were shot down, but they succeeded in diverting the Japanese defenses. When the American dive bombers attacked, they sank three Japanese carriers in less than 10 minutes. An additional Japanese carrier was sunk later in the battle. In a matter of minutes, the tide of war in the Pacific had turned. For the rest of the war, the Japanese would be on defense, not offense. Japan lost 5,000 men, four carriers, one heavy cruiser and 322 planes, while the U.S. lost 307 men, one carrier, one destroyer and 147 aircraft. Ironically, Japanese pilots who had attacked Pearl Harbor were able to enjoy their tremendous victory for just under six months until the vast majority of them died at Midway in June 1942.”
Land said the nation should pause this week for a moment of silence in prayer for the brave sailors and pilots who defended America’s freedom at Midway on those fateful days.
“Why did we win at Midway?” Land asked. “The odds were heavily on the side of the Japanese. Was it luck? I believe it was God’s providence, not merely fortuitous circumstances. God blessed America in World War II because we were a God-honoring nation. Would we receive the same blessings today? God’s blessings are a sign of His favor; their absence is a sign of His disfavor.”
Likewise, this week also commemorates the anniversary of the Six-Day War between Israel and her Arab neighbors, Egypt, Jordan and Syria on June 5-10, 1967.
“Some have asked, ‘Weren’t the Israelis the aggressor?’” Land remarked. “No, they were not. In May 1967, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser mobilized Egyptian armed forces in the Sinai and forced UN peace- keeping troops to leave. Nasser also signed a mutual defense pact with Jordan, whose armed forces were put under Egyptian command. It was clear that Egypt, Jordan and Syria were preparing an imminent, coordinated attack on Israel from the south, the east and the north.
“According to Just War Theory, followed by most Christians for almost two millennia, for a war to be just, it must be defensive,” Land continued. “However, this does not mean you have to wait to be attacked. If you believe your enemies are preparing an imminent attack, you are justified in defending yourself by attacking first, especially when you have enemies that say their goal is to drive you into the sea. The Israelis did attack first and scored a spectacular victory over their enemies in just six days, rewriting the map of the Middle East.”
Land noted that his father was with the U.S. Navy task force that left Pearl Harbor to reinforce Wake Island a few days before the Japanese attack in December 1941.
“I promise you; had they encountered the Japanese fleet operating under radio silence less than a hundred miles from Pearl Harbor, they would have considered it an act of war, and they would not have waited for the Japanese to launch their planes at Pearl Harbor before they attacked the Japanese fleet,” Land said.
Finally, on June 6, the world will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Allied Army’s landings on D-Day in Normandy, which began the liberation of Europe from the terrible scourge of Nazi occupation. It was the largest amphibious operation in military history.
“In the first 24 hours after the landing began, 175,000 American, British, Canadian, French and other Allied troops came ashore in more than 4,000 landing craft, hundreds of airborne gliders and parachute drops,” Land said. “On the first day, the Allies suffered an estimated 10,000 casualties with 2,500 dead. Today, 27 war cemeteries contain the graves of the more than 110,000 dead from both sides during the battle for Normandy. It was the turning point in the European war.”
On the night of June 6, 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt took to the radio airwaves to ask the nation to “join with me in prayer.” Land shared part of that historic prayer in his radio commentary:
Almighty God, our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. Lead them straight and true, give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness to their faith. They will need Thy blessings, for the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.
And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee, faith in our sons, faith in each other, faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.
With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace—a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil. Thy will be done, Almighty God, Amen.
“Does anyone doubt that God blessed us on D-Day?” Land asked. “We could have lost that battle, but we didn’t, and it is because the faith expressed by the president was the faith of the nation. God blesses an America that worships Him.”
At SES, students delve into classroom discussions about topics both current and historical through its “Philosophy, Politics and Economics” program. Offered primarily at just a few top-tier universities around the world, the PPE program introduces students to the Christian worldview of how philosophy, politics and economics intersect, focusing on the works of Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Henry Hazlitt, Karl Marx, Thomas Aquinas, Robert Sirico, Jay Richards and others.
For 27 years, SES has existed to equip students and ministry leaders to share the Gospel from an intelligent, informed and rational biblical worldview. Courses, conferences, seminars, guest speakers and more seek to accomplish this longstanding mission. Central to this purpose is the provision of a biblical basis and an academic understanding of believers’ commitment to Christ. Therefore, SES seeks to provide an educational opportunity where the Christian worldview is both a framework for thinking and a dynamic for living.