June 6, 2023: D-Day, the historic invasion of Normandy that took place 79 years ago on June 6, 1944, remains a significant historical event. More than 156,000 Allied troops stormed France’s beaches, changing World War II’s course and liberating Europe from the clutches of Hitler’s Germany.
April Cheek-Messier, the president and CEO of the National D-Day Memorial Foundation, emphasized the importance of this momentous occasion. She stated that the men and women who participated in D-Day and World War II played a pivotal role in saving the world for future generations.
As time passes, the number of WWII veterans, especially those who were part of the D-Day invasion, is decreasing.
According to experts, it is crucial to honor their legacies and preserve history by sharing their stories. Military historian and author John C. McManus believes that it is our responsibility to pass on the stories of these veterans once they are no longer with us.
The National D-Day Memorial Foundation, initially established to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice on D-Day and in the weeks following, is dedicated to preserving the memories of these veterans. The foundation maintains the most comprehensive list of Allied service members who died on June 6, 1944, totaling 4,415, including 2,502 Americans.
In addition to maintaining the memorial in Bedford, Virginia, the foundation actively engages in research and education to ensure the remembrance of the veterans. Their efforts aim to honor those who fought and inform future generations about the sacrifices made during D-Day.
Looking ahead to the 80th commemoration of D-Day next year, the foundation continues its research and education mission. They are working on adding new names to the memorial wall in Bedford in 2024, providing further recognition to those who served.
As the number of surviving veterans diminishes, it becomes increasingly vital for us to remember and share their stories. The National D-Day Memorial Foundation is not alone in this endeavor; all American citizens should take part in passing on the memories and experiences of these brave men and women.
The stories of D-Day veterans are a part of our history and a testament to the courage and sacrifice that shaped the world we live in today. By remembering and sharing their stories, we ensure that their legacy lives on and that future generations understand the magnitude of their contributions.