80th Anniversary Of D-Day

A Report by Adam Jarchow from the Normandy American Cemetery.

80th Anniversary Of D-Day

A Report from the Normandy American Cemetery - by Adam Jarchow

June 6, 1944, marks the 80th Anniversary of the Allied invasion of the Normandy coast of France. This invasion marked the beginning of the end of Hitler’s reign of terror across Europe. By June 6, 1944, Hitler had conquered, plundered, and murdered his way across Europe. He had destroyed cities, terrorized populations, and murdered millions of innocent people.

In order to literally save the world, brave young men from the US, Britain, Canada, and others staged the largest sea-born invasion in the history of warfare. The invasion began in the early hours of June 6, 1944, when thousands of paratroopers were dropped behind enemy lines in the dark of night. Simultaneously, soldiers, sailors and marines set out on thousands of ships to cross the English Channel. After a long, rough journey, they conducted amphibious landings at 5 Separate Beaches (Utah and Omaha - American Sector); (Sword and Gold - British) and Juno - Canadian.

The losses were enormous. The German guns perched atop the bluffs mowed down men just seconds after they left their boats. The carnage was horrific. The beaches were soaked in the blood of these young heroes.

But they fought on. They kept pressing forward against enormous odds, eventually pushing the Germans back and establishing a beachhead on the European continent. This ultimately led to the Allied Victory over Hitler and the Nazis in 1945.

Today’s ceremony at the American Cemetery drew politicians and media from around the world - Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg were even in attendance. President Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and French President Macron all spoke at the ceremony. Senator Cruz, Former-Speaker Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries were all also in attendance. There were thousands of men and women in uniform including a number of Four-Star Generals and Medal of Honor recipients.

But the central focus of the ceremony were surviving the World War II Veterans who were able to make the trip. These men are now in their late 90s or 100s. Most are in wheelchairs. But 80 years ago, the men who joined President Biden and Macron on the stage, literally helped save the world.

It is striking how much the French remember and appreciate their service and sacrifice in liberating France from the Nazi terror. The entire region of Normandy is decorated with American flags, posters celebrating the American soldiers, and even window paintings on most shops.

At today’s ceremony, French President Macron pointedly thanked America and hailed the veterans on the stage with him as heroes. But in a video played during the ceremony, the surviving veterans made it clear that they didn’t consider themselves heroes. They said they were just doing their job. And the real heroes are the ones buried at Normandy American Cemetery and others like it. Those cemeteries are filled with the remains of the men who spilled their blood on the sands of the beaches or the farm fields across France and Europe. Many of these men were in their early 20s - some even younger. They had barely begun to live and yet were willing to die for a cause they believed in - the cause of freedom.

Seeing the rows of pristine white crosses is a stark reminder that our freedom was paid for with the blood of these young men. We owe them everything. Let us never forget those who came to the shores of France to liberate a continent and free millions of people. They have left us a legacy of freedom and democracy that has endured for 80 years. It is our generation’s task to ensure it endures for another 80 years.

Editor's note: A special thank you to Adam Jarchow for reporting on this story for DrydenWire while in France.

Last Update: Jun 07, 2024 10:06 am CDT

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