Last Thursday, June 6, 2019, marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Officially named “Operation Overlord,” D-Day saw more than 160,000 allied troops land on the French coastline in Normandy to fight the Nazi forces of Germany at the height of World War II. More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported this invasion. Unimaginable.
The victorious efforts of the allied troops on the beaches of Normandy prohibited the further invasion of the European continent and turned the Nazi forces back to Germany, thereby marking the beginning of the end of the war.
According to Wikipedia and some other information that I found through internet research, in total, over 425,000 combined troops among the Allied and German forces were either killed, wounded or went missing during this battle. There were 4,414 Allied deaths on D-Day, 2,501 Americans and 1,913 Allied. Think about how many people that really is. Think of a city that size and how many cities, both in our nation and the world at large, that are smaller than that amount of people.
D-Day took place on June 6, 1944. Exactly 14 months later to the day, on August 6, 1945, an American B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan and three days later, another B-29 dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki. These events three events, though 15 months apart, forever changed the world and brought an end to World War II.
A book published in 1959 titled “The Longest Day” by Cornelius Ryan tells the story of D-Day. A film was released in 1962 based upon this book. When I was a young kid growing up in the 1970s, World War II still lived on through the movie “Patton.” There were numerous television shows back then based upon the World War II era. All were popular things to talk about, watch, and play back in those days, in terms of kids playing and staging war battle scenes with army men and gear.
I remember a man who worked for my father when I was a kid. He was involved in the Normandy invasion, and on many different occasions he told me of how the skies above the beaches of Normandy were totally black from the number of aircraft in the skies. What an indelible and unforgettable impression hearing this story made upon me as a child. I will always remember it and will never forget it.
Now, when I look back at World War II and events like D-Day, it makes me appreciate the sacrifice.
So many times throughout my lifetime, I heard it mentioned as to how things could have gone the other way in terms of World War II and the attempted Nazi invasion of the world. With the
countless and unselfish sacrifices made by so many on D-Day and the other battles during World War II, the United State remains free in all that we stand for as the voice and shining example of democracy throughout the world.
Today, military and political unrest still persists in many parts of the world. In our dominant role as the world’s peacekeeper, America has been involved in many conflicts since the last World War. Also, there is now constant talk and veiled threats from Russia and Iran. Aa always, our American military forces must remain strong and steady. This is the only way to adequately deter our enemies.
Just a few weeks ago, we just celebrated Memorial Day in recognition of those who gave their all in making the ultimate sacrifice for the many freedoms and way of life that we enjoy in our United States of America. We owe a debt that can never be repaid to the countless individuals who have fought and worked so hard to protect our American values and freedoms.
Our entire region is tied to the military due to the 86-year existence of Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City. When we hear the beautiful and reassuring sound of the B-52s from our beloved Barksdale Air Force Base flying overhead, I think freedom, I think strength, I think safety. And, I thank God!
Randy Brown is publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org