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D-Day remembered: 68 years later

On June 6, 1944, 68 years ago today, Allied Forces crossed the English Channel and landed in France; the beaches of Normandy. This is where the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi control began.

World War 2 began on September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. Within two days the war had expanded to include Britain and France, and within one week, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa had also joined the war. (World War-2.net)

But it was on June 6, 1944 when, by order of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe, 6000 landing crafts, ships and other vessels transporting 176,000 troops left England en route to France to wrest back control of mainland Europe from Germany’s Chancellor Adolf Hitler. (History.com)


Nineteen Army divisions
served in the Normandy Campaign, including the 1st Infantry Division . The 1st Infantry Division, reinforced with elements of the 29th Division and supplemented by two Ranger Battalions secured Omaha Beach, but not without first suffering the loss of 1036 Big Red One soldiers, as well as the loss of 743 29th Division soldiers. (History.Net)

General Eisenhower released the following statement to Allied troops on D-Day:


“Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon a great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.


Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened, he will fight savagely.


But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man to man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our home fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to victory!


I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!


Good luck! And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”


- Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Today we remember those WWII heroes who stormed the beaches of Normandy for freedom’s sake, and we honor those WWII veterans who remind us still that freedom is not free.

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