Repaying their sacrifice

Published 8:40 am Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Thursday marked the 80th anniversary of Operation Overlord, commonly known as D-Day, where 2,500 Americans were killed on the beaches of Normandy in World War II. On June 6, 1944, 4,400 allied troops gave their lives in fighting the Nazis.  

Over the course of the Battle of Normandy, 73,000 allied troops were killed and 153,000 were injured. It is hard to comprehend or fathom the great sacrifice 80 years ago as the US fought to end World War II. 

Many of those men were just 18 or 19-years-old. I can’t imagine what it would have been like, to be on a transport ship crossing the English channel as storms brewed. In fact, the invasion was delayed due to bad weather. I’m not sure I could fathom the nerves and anxiety as they headed towards uncertainty and knowing they could be killed in the fighting. 

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In hindsight, we know the invasion would be one of the fatal blows to Nazi Germany. It came at a great cost. We can never forget their sacrifice and to those young American men who fought all over the globe in World War II we owe a great debt. 

According to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, an average of 131 World War II veterans die each day. Mississippi had 911 World War II veterans still alive in 2023 according to the museum but one day the number will dwindle to zero. 

I encourage everyone to take time this weekend to reflect on the sacrifices made in not just World War II but every conflict in American history. Are you living a life which pays back those sacrifices? What can you do to continue making a positive difference in your community? 

One thing I find fascinating about the greatest generation is how the men who returned from the war became so involved with civic clubs and volunteerism. There are still opportunities to make the nation a better place. Volunteering may be the best way to repay the sacrifices of the greatest generation.