[Guest post by DRJ]
D-Day is not one of the major holidays like Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day that commemorate American military valor and sacrifice. But part of what makes D-Day so memorable is that it commemorates a specific time, a specific place, and a specific War.
Today’s D-Day ceremonies spanned the continents from Normandy to Bedford, Virginia, the home of the National D-Day Memorial. The American Battle Monuments Commission is the guardian of America’s overseas commemorative cemeteries and memorials. It operates 25 cemeteries throughout the world, including the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial:
“The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France is located on the site of the temporary American St. Laurent Cemetery, established by the U.S. First Army on June 8, 1944 and the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II. The cemetery site, at the north end of its ½ mile access road, covers 172.5 acres and contains the graves of 9,387 of our military dead, most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landings and ensuing operations. On the Walls of the Missing in a semicircular garden on the east side of the memorial are inscribed 1,557 names. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.”
Over 215,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded between D-Day and when the Allies took control at Normandy. Most of them went home to their lives or to be laid to rest, but over 10,000 did not. We remember all of them today.