Remembering the D-Day sacrifices

One of the greatest military achievements ever occurred three-quarters of a century ago today. Code named Operation Neptune and usually referred to as D-Day, the largest seaborne invasion in history began on the shores of Normandy, France.

D-Day was a massive invasion of Allied forces against the Nazi tyranny. Planning began in 1943. Think of what went into pulling it off: the men, the machinery and the sheer might needed. The sheer logistics! Even the weather, phase of moon and tides had to be factored in.

Thousands of soldiers landed on beach sectors named Omaha, Utah, Gold Juno and Sword. Thousands died — estimates are as many as 10,000 Allied casualties. German gun encampments atop the shores cut many soldiers down. Mines also took a toll.

Those brave soldiers did not die in vain. The sacrifices paved the way for the liberation of German-occupied France and then Europe from Nazi control and laid the groundwork of the Allied victory on the Western Front.

You have probably seen the documentaries and specials on TV. Maybe you grimaced and watched the Normandy beach landing depicted in the “Saving Private Ryan,’ acclaimed for its accuracy in detailing what happened that fateful June 6, 1944 morning an ocean away. If you are fortunate you may even know or did know someone who actually participated in the invasion. If you aren’t familiar with the Normandy invasion, grab a book or do some online research. You will become a better American for it.

Most of us weren’t around 75 years ago. But a big reason we are free today was the success of the D-Day invasion. The least we can do is remember it on this day and honor the memories of all involved and all who sacrificed.