Our View: Honor then, now
Today marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the day the Allies invaded Normandy and began the liberation of France and Europe from German control during World War II.
Of the original 16,112,566 members of the United States armed forces during World War II, the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that only about 1 million are still living today.
This year, a few of those in that group made their way to the French hamlet of La Cambe, one of five D-Day landing sites, where children and adults waved French and American flags as American World War II veterans walked the streets of the tiny village.
Some of those veterans needed canes. One was in a wheelchair. All were assisted in one manner or another.
All were hailed as American heroes.
In a world where national heroes can seem in short supply, it is fitting that we pause today to remember the Normandy landings of June 6, 1944.
It is fitting that we remember how strong winds blew the landing craft from their intended positions.
It is fitting that we remember how our men landed under heavy fire from guns placed at points overlooking the beaches.
It is fitting that we remember how the beaches were mined and littered with obstacles such as wooden stakes and barbed wire.
It is fitting that we remember that while German causalties that day numbered about 1,000 men, Allied casualties numbered at least 12,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead.
Today, we salute our World War II veterans.
These troops changed the course of history and give us reason to be proud of the nation in which we live.