D-Day – 80 Years Ago

D Day – 80 Years Ago

Image “Courtesy of The National WWII Museum.

It was on a beach across the sea, in Normandy, France, that thousands of brave young soldiers mustered up the courage to do what they believed would end WWII and secure the freedom and liberty of those back home for good.

The D-Day operation of June 6, 1944, brought together the land, air, and sea forces of the allied armies in what became known as the largest amphibious invasion in military history. The operation, given the codename OVERLORD, delivered five naval assault divisions to the beaches of Normandy, France. The beaches were given the code names UTAH, OMAHA, GOLD, JUNO, and SWORD. The invasion force included 7,000 ships and landing craft manned by over 195,000 naval personnel from eight allied countries. Almost 133,000 troops from the United States, the British Commonwealth, and their allies, landed on D-Day. Casualties from these countries during the landing numbered 10,300. By June 30, over 850,000 men, 148,000 vehicles, and 570,000 tons of supplies had landed on the Normandy shores. Fighting by the brave soldiers, sailors, and airmen of the allied forces western front, and Russian forces on the eastern front, led to the defeat of German Nazi forces. On May 7, 1945, German General Alfred Jodl signed an unconditional surrender at Reims, France.

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General Eisenhower’s determination that operation OVERLORD (the invasion of France) would bring a quick end to the war is obvious in this message to the troops of the Allied Expeditionary Forces on June 6, 1944, the morning of the invasion:

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We owe it to those young men who gave their lives that day and throughout that campaign in Normandy, to take care of what they so valiantly fought for…our freedom and our way of life. It is all too easy to forget in our divided country and culture with political opinions and rhetoric flying on all sides, that our ability to take a strand, to have an opinion we can voice, came at the cost of someone else’s life. So let’s not be so casual as to say our piece in unkind or provocative ways. Let us not throw our opinions around like confetti and not bother to listen to someone who sees things differently than we do. We surely don’t have to agree or share the same perspective, especially on highly charged issues, but at least we can remember that thousands of young men died 80 years ago to give us the freedom to have and share those opinions. Before we are quick to complain about our lives and how “bad” things are in our life we should stop and remember we have a life to complain about. Those young men who paid the ultimate price never got the opportunity to share their opinions or live out their lives.

So share your thoughts with family and friends, and if you must, share on social media, but do so remembering with gratitude and in a way that shows respect for those who served and those who died so that you can share.

Remember and be grateful,

Jackie and Robin

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