This editorial first appeared two years ago on the 67th anniversary of D-Day. We present it again with minor changes to honor those Americans who fought and died in the Normandy invasion.
This year marks the 69th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, also known as Operation Overlord.
In the early-morning hours, thousands of Americans and their allies landed upon the shores of Normandy, France, to begin the largest amphibious assault in world history to reclaim France and most of Europe from the Nazi war machine.
With each passing year, we lose more of those heroic men who were willing to give their lives for the cause of freeing their fellow men and women from the Nazis’ grip.
We also lose their stories and experiences to the annals of history, some untold because of their violent and tragic nature.
During the course of the battle June 6, 1944, nearly 2,500 Americans died, according to the U.S. National D-Day Memorial Foundation, plus thousands were wounded, taken as prisoners of war or reported as missing in action.
These do not include those injured — physically and mentally — who continued fighting without seeking medical aid. The American casualties were part of the more than 4,400 from all Allied nations who died that day.
We must do our duty to preserve the efforts and sacrifices of our veterans, not only of this battle, but also of those who fought in all of America’s conflicts.
We must seek out their stories and recollections and capture them, even though it may be difficult to bring to light for those who participated.
D-Day presents an example of military minds from across oceans and continents working together in combat against a mighty foe. Nations, while not always agreeing on political fronts, put aside their differences to join forces against what was perceived as a universal evil in the world.
We should attempt not to glorify war or minimize the destruction and death caused by it, praising those who pored over battle scenarios in the quiet confines of their military headquarters.
Instead, we should take with us the lessons learned from D-Day and all American armed conflicts. While the wars we fight today have few clearly defined enemies and fields of battle on which we can focus, we can hope our world leaders will do more than talk about working together to rid the world of terrorism, perceived as a universal evil in the world today.
When violence and battle are thought to be needed, we should do well to look upon the deeds of those who fought in Normandy. We must consider if losing more lives is worth the price of war or if more diplomatic means are possible.
We do not wish to create another generation of soldiers forced to forget or bury their memories of combat as their grandfathers so often must do.