Sixty-four years ago today, nearly one and a half million British, American and Canadian free men risked their lives to rid a continent and the world from Nazi oppression. These were the boys of Point du Hac, Omaha, Juno, Sword, Gold and Utah. These were the boys who jumped, for the first time, from perfectly good airplanes into combat with the most feared military force in history.
These young men had lived through the Great Depression, emerging just in time to see the world being swallowed by two brutally evil forces, spreading across Europe and Asia. They strapped on their boots and marched bravely into the face of an overwhelming, undefeated enemy. Their journey would take them through Normandy, Holland, Bastogne and, eventually, the horrors of Buchenwald and Dachau.
One generation from the Wright Brothers, they landed a man on the moon.
Having defeated Nazism in Europe, they turned, without flinching, to aid their comrades in the Pacific, ridding the world of Japanese imperial aggression. Only when a group of scientists harnessed the power of the atom, were they relieved of duty and able to return home.
On the backs of these heroes, America, and eventually the world, prospered. They took a society that was only one generation from horse-drawn carriages and the Wright Brothers, and they landed a man on the moon. Their contributions to our freedom, our economy and our history will never be forgotten.