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My wife and I decided that a summer trip this year would be a bit of hassle with me starting a new job and her having to do a summer conference. Instead, we decided that a trip to Warsaw and eastern Germany before Christmas would be something that we’d both enjoy. After seeing pictures of German Christmas markets my wife was sold on the idea of spending more time in Germany.

So, I’ve started early on the search for reward tickets. Just before Christmas is not a heavy travel season to Europe so I figured I would find some availability but my first few searches came back with nothing. My goal was to go from Houston to either Los Angeles or San Francisco and then to Frankfurt, Munich, or Zurich from there. Why, you ask, would I want to fly from the west coast? More sleeping time, plain and simple. I was still having a hard time finding availability, with only Denver coming back with empty seats.

Then, Friday night, it happened. I went to continental.com and plugged in “MIAWAW” and got back a bunch of neat routings, including First Class on Lufthansa’s Airbus A380-800. The most interesting routing was Miami to Frankfurt to Kiev to Warsaw, but the connection time in Frankfurt had the potential for us to miss our flight to Kiev, especially in the winter. So, I ended up booking the one-way reward as Miami-Frankfurt-Bucharest-Warsaw.

People may think I’m crazy to route the trip through Bucharest but I did not want to arrive too early into Warsaw and be stuck lugging our suitcases around the city in the snow. Now we’ll get in at 3pm, perfect for checking straight into our hotel. Not to mention, I’ll get a couple of neat new lines 😉

This is merely the beginning of planning this trip, I still need to get from Houston to Miami, as well as continue to monitor flights from the west coast as I would still prefer the longer flight, and finally, figure out our routing for the way home.

The big thing to look forward to is the First Class experience on the Lufthansa A380. I was lucky to grab the seats since Lufthansa has been holding them back for their own frequent flyers. I expect the service will be just as superb as our flight to Frankfurt from Houston last summer but the new suites will add a whole new level of awesomeness.

This is a trip I am really looking forward to, a new aircraft, a new airline (LOT Polish Airlines), and a few new lines. As I make changes and find the return routing, I’ll make some new posts.

I write about this day almost every year, but it’s a day that deserves such an honor.

My post from 2006 is probably the best reminder of that day, so I am re-posting it here.

My Fellow Americans:

Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

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 in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. 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.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest — until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them — help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

Give us strength, too — strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

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 keeness 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 arrogances. 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.

Franklin D. Roosevelt – June 6, 1944

The uncertainty of the success of the invasion and the possible repercussions if the invasion was a failure is clearly on the mind of the President. 12,000 Allied soldiers gave their lives that day, and many more did the same until the Germans surrendered on May 8, 1945. Their sacrifice and the service of those who made it home can never be overstated.