Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Longest Day: 65th Anniversary of D-Day

On June 6, 1944, 150,000 Allied soldiers clambered aboard heaving landing craft and braved six-foot swells, waves of machine gun fire, and more than six million mines to claim a stretch of sand at a place called Normandy.

Their mission was to carve out an Allied foothold on the edge of Nazi-occupied Europe for the army of more than one million that would follow them in the summer of 1944. This army would burst forth from the beachhead, rolling across Europe into the heart of Germany, liberating millions, toppling a genocidal regime, and ending a nightmare along the way. But it all began on the beaches in France, with an army of teenagers on a day called D-Day.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end on June 6, the Allies gained a foothold in Normandy. The D-Day cost was high -- more than 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded -- but more than 100,000 soldiers began the march across Europe to defeat Hitler.

The 65th anniversary of D-Day will find our youngest D-Day and WWII veterans turning 82 years of age. The years to come will find even fewer of them among us, and fewer still able to travel and share their stories.

Because that day will arrive all too soon, the National D-Day Memorial Foundation, located in Bedford, Virginia, will present “Overlord Echoes” June 4-7, 2009, to allow veterans and the public to share information and perspectives on D-Day with the larger purpose of preserving the lessons and legacy of that decisive moment in history.

The Memorial is a place where the lessons and legacy of D-Day are remembered and preserved, a place where veterans of all ages are welcomed and honored, a place where visitors discover and recognize the worthy service of those who answer duty’s call, a place where gravity and dignity are hallmarks.

All who enter it are reminded of the heavy price that heartland communities have paid, and still pay, for freedom.

May God bless our World War II veterans, and let them know we have not forgotten their courage and the sacrifices they made for our country on this day 65 years ago.


Tonja said...

Wht a moving post! Full of information, and a fine reminder that freedom isn't free. Those brave boys...and the grieving families that never forgot. We must never forget, either. Thank you for this timely and inspirational post.

Beth at Aunties said...


Thank You for sharing this post to help us remember. Our Fathers both fought valiantly in this war. Mine in the army under General George C. Patton in Europe and MY FIL in the Navy in the Pacific.
My Dad never spoke of the war. My FIL has filled in a lot of the history, my dad could never speak of. He died at age 61 and would be 84 now.

My husband has distinct feelings of his memories of standing on that hallowed beach in France when he lived there.

With much gratitude for ALL the service men and women,

English Cottage in Georgia said...

This ex history teacher appreciates your post remembering the courageous deeds of so many young American boys so long ago. May we never forget the unselfishness of those Americans.

Marjorie (Molly) Smith said...

Thank you for your sweet reminder. My Uncle was at Normandy and untill the day he died he wouldn't talk about the horrors he saw.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Lovely, Janie... this is such a special reminder. My uncle was in WWII, and he just passed away over a year ago. They truly are the greatest generation. God bless them ALL!


Sheila :-)

Julie @ Sweet Chaos said...

Bless their hearts. What a great generation. They are appreciated & their memory will always live on. We should all be so courageous & brave.