I once heard a veteran describe signing up for the military like writing a blank check. You aren’t sure how much that check will cost – it could be an arm, leg, PTSD, or even your life – but you are still willing to pay it to protect your country. If that analogy alone doesn’t make you realize how much every veteran has paid for our freedom…then I’m not sure what will.
June 6, 1944 was D-day, the day in which many Allied soldiers invaded the beaches of Normandy, France, in efforts to drive German soldiers out of Western Europe. Overlord was the mission’s name.
While all of the soldiers who fought and died during that long battle certainly deserve to be remembered, Bedford, Virginia, was the town who suffered the greatest losses proportionally and is now home to the National D-Day Memorial. Out of the thirty soldiers from Bedford who were deployed to Normandy, nineteen of them died on the beaches, and four more died later from wounds suffered from the battle. While D-Day was not the deciding factor for WWII, it certainly inspired the Allies. D-Day had shown that no matter how small the forces were, the determination of the soldiers outshone the skepticism.
If you ever have the chance of traveling to Bedford, Virginia, I would highly recommend visiting the National D-Day Memorial. I had the chance to visit last year, on the 75th anniversary of D-Day (although I wouldn’t recommend doing that because of the crowd). There was even an aerial tribute, featuring the RAF hurricane and spitfire, Mosquito, B-17, P-51, and more! Vice President Mike Pence even attended and spoke. Several WWII soldiers were featured, and their stories were shared. I can’t really describe the experience. You would have had to have been there, sitting in the heat on a concrete surface, trying to avoid a sunburn (which I failed miserably at), while yet still feeling cold due to the goosebumps you got as you heard those stories. Those men went through so much for our freedom. They were willing to give up everything.
Today, 76 years after Operation Overlord, please remember all of those who died for our freedom. If you have the privilege of knowing a veteran who served in WWII, give them a call and express your gratitude for their sacrifice. If you know any veteran, for that matter, thank them for their service. The one thing I want to stress to you – never forget the price of freedom. The price of freedom is high. But it’s a price every single veteran and military member is willing to pay. Don’t ever forget.
For more information on the National D-Day Memorial, visit https://www.dday.org.
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