D-Day should always be remembered

Seventy-five years ago today, Allied troops numbering more than 160,000 landed along a 50-mile stretch of French coastline, on the beaches of Normandy, in what is most often referred to as D-Day, the largest seaborne invasion in history.

Surviving World War II veterans — including many Americans — are in France for commemoration of this epic invasion in the fight against Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany.

On June 6, 1944, a swarm of thousands of ships and aircraft supported the troops landing on that stretch of beach, yet more than 9,000 Allied troops were killed or wounded that day. But those who survived trudged along, moving slowly but steadily across Europe to stop Hitler.

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower said of the operation “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” And slightly less than a year later, Hitler was dead, Nazi Germany surrendered unconditionally and the Allied Victory in Europe was celebrated on May 8, 1945.

It’s important to remember all that happened on that critical day in the Allied efforts to rid the world of Hitler and his ilk. The ranks of the veterans who put their lives on the line that day are diminishing.

We need to honor all World War II veterans on anniversaries such as this. They are, indeed, the Greatest Generation and their stories must be told. Those still with us are in their 90s or even older and we need to preserve their memories of this crucial battle and all the things that happened during WWII.

We remember them on this day as the young, inexperienced troops who so loved their country they were willing to risk dying in a foreign land.

War is nothing to be celebrated, but these military men and women who stood up for what is right deserve to be celebrated, today and every day.

And their stories need to be told so we remember and coming generations know the price of freedom can be steep, but the bravest among us were willing to pay that price with their very lives.