Here is a history lesson for you.
Seventy-five years ago today, Allied forces under the command of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower succeeded in carrying off the largest amphibious operation in history, laying claim to a 50-mile stretch of French coastline in Normandy.
It was D-Day, June 6, 1944,
And it signaled the first glimmer of liberty for countries suffering under Nazi rule in Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.
More than 160,000 Allied troops made the English channel crossing in what Eisenhower called the “Great Crusade” in his invasion order to the Allied Expeditionary Force.
“The eyes of the world are upon you,” Eisenhower said. “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 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...
“I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory.”
And victory there was on that day, achieved at a great price.
In addition to 160,000 troops on the beaches, the invasion force employed more than 5,000 ships, 13,000 aircraft and hundreds of airborne troops who parachuted behind the Nazi lines.
The beaches where they landed – Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno, Sword – were sanctified by the blood of more than 10,000 Allied soldiers killed or wounded on D-Day.
Four soldiers would receive Congressional Medals of Honor for their actions.
Sixteen million Americans saw military service during World War II. According to the U.S. Departent of Veterans Affairs, there were 496,777 World War II veterans still living as of Sept. 30, 2018.
The National World War II Museum in New Orleans reports these veterans, now in their upper 80s and 90s, are dying at a rate of 348 per day.
Given that rate, the estimated number of living World War II veterans today is 410,125. In 10 years time, their numbers will be negligible.
If you know any World War II veterans, reach out to them today and every day to thank them for their service and their sacrifice.
We won’t have them with us forever or even much longer and they truly were America’s greatest generation.
Think about that and thank God for them.