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D-Day: The Cost of Freedom

Posted by Dr. Fay on June 6, 2013

Visitors walk among the 9,387 graves at the Colleville American Military Cemetery on the 69th anniversary of the 1944 D-Day invasion on June 6 in Colleville sur Mer, France. Several hundred veterans of the 1944 D-Day landings in Normandy gathered to commemorate the invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II.

Photo retrieved from USA Today.

Over 9000 graves in France attest to the cost of freedom   Veterans of the Normandy Invasion gathered at the American Colleville Miltary Cemetery and other sites across the Normandy Beaches to remember their fallen comrades at arms on the 69th anniversary of the victory that started the march to free Europe from the Nazi invaders.

Salute: U.S. veterans stand to attention during the national anthems at a ceremony held at the Memorial of the Colleville American military cemetery

Photo retrieved from Mail Online.  See more here.

From a report at Military.com:

Hundreds of military veterans gathered on the beaches of Normandy for the 69th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion that led to the end of World War II.

A series of events were planned at cemeteries and villages liberated after 150,000 soldiers waded ashore June 6, 1944, the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported Thursday. [ed. See that report here.]

About 2,500 soldiers died during the landing.

Among those observing the commemoration are 264 veterans who fought in the Normandy campaign. Their trips were paid for by the “Heroes Return” program financed by Britain’s Big Lottery Fund.

Veterans from the eastern English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk brought with them the remains of Ernest Mears, who dug trenches at the landing sites and built shelters while under fire.

Mears, who was with the Pioneer Corps, is to be interred at a Commonwealth War Grave cemetery near where he landed.

Jack Woods, who served with the 9th Battalion Royal Tank Regiment — and who accompanied Mears’ ashes to France — said Mears was typical of the men who went to war “simply to do their duty.”

Woods hoped to re-inter his fellow vet next year at Bayeux Cathedral during the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

Read more.

CNN reports that the number of World War II veterans is dwindling:

There are still more than 1.7 million Americans alive who served in World War II, but that number is dwindling fast.

With much of the “Greatest Generation” now in their 80s and 90s, hundreds of these veterans are dying every day, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

By the year 2036, the VA estimates, there will no longer be any living veterans from the conflict.

The last World War I veteran, Frank Buckles, died in February 2011.

Read more.

FRANCE-US-HISTORY-WWII-COMMEMORATION

The Associated Press reports that about 2 dozen American veterans gathered at the Omaha Beach memorial. It is not clear why their report does not mention the hundreds of veterans that, according to Canadian and British newspapers, paid their respects across Normandy.

Veterans of the 1944 Normandy landings gathered Thursday at the site of history’s largest amphibious invasion for ceremonies marking D-day’s 69th anniversary.

Around two dozen U.S. vets, some in their old uniforms pinned with medals, stood and saluted during a wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial overlooking Omaha Beach, where a cemetery holds the remains of over 9,000 Americans who died during the vicious battle to storm the French beach under withering Nazi fire.

[…]

Tourists, many from the U.S. and Britain, gathered under a brilliant spring sky to witness the flag-raising amid the neat rows of thousands of white marble crosses and stars of David marking the graves of U.S. servicemen and women fallen in the Allied invasion of Normandy.

On June 6, 1944, Allied forces led by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower stormed the beaches of Normandy to begin the liberation of German-occupied Western Europe during World War II.

A full day of ceremonies — including fireworks, concerts and marches — was taking place across Normandy in honor of the more than 150,000 troops, mainly U.S., British and Canadian, who risked or gave their lives in the invasion.

“The tide has turned. The free men of the world are marching together to victory!” Eisenhower said in a historic address after the invasion was launched.

Read more.

This excellent documentary was done as a high school class project.  Notice the archival footage at 31-33 seconds of the soldiers praying before battle.

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________________
May we never forget.

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