Friday was the 70th anniversary of D-Day. For many of the “Greatest Generation” it will be the final significant anniversary of the landing at Normandy in which they participated.
For 9,000 other Americans, June 6, 1944, was the final day of their young lives. Many never made it ashore or many never made it off the beach. For those who did, there was still nearly a year left of fighting their way across France, Belgium and finally battling the Germans on their home soil.
All of those scared young men, wading ashore with full packs, Springfield rifles and K-rations are gone. Those left are now frail, elderly gentleman who we rarely give a second thought. It is to easy to forget or even ignore unpleasant things, especially if they seem to be from a time long gone by.
However, on that morning just before dawn, those same men, were the only hope of the free world. They were all that stood between the life and luxury we now enjoy and a world ruled by fascist dictators.
When they returned, they fueled the engine that helped America lead the greatest advancements in human history. Not a bad legacy for one generation.
For most Memorial Day is in May and Veterans Day is in November....days off are enjoyed, burgers and hot dogs hit the backyard grill, and cash registers ring up sales. But for the 9,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who are buried on the cliffs overlooking the English Channel, Memorial Day will always be June 6, 1944.
Rest in peace to those buried there and thank you for service who made it through “The Longest Day” - you earned it.