Today is the 67 anniversary of D-Day.

It’s hard to conceive or even comprehend the epic scope of this battle.  Operation Overlord was the largest air, land and sea operation ever undertaken. The D-Day invasion included more than 5,000 ships, 11,000 airplanes and over 150,000 service men. It took years of meticulous planning and endless training for the Allies. It all came down to this: The boat ramp goes down, jump, swim run and crawl to the cliffs. It might be considered the ultimate Ironman competition.

The mostly young soldiers (most not even 20 years old) jumped into the surf carrying eighty pounds of gear.  At the beach they faced 200 yards of open space between the landing craft and the cliffs that provided any cover from small arms, machine gun nests, snipers and artillery.

“As our boat touched sand and the ramp went down, I became a visitor to hell.”

Pvt. Charles Neighbor 29th Division Omaha Beach.

When the dust cleared the Allied Forces had suffered nearly 10,000 casualties, with more than 4,000 dead. In comparison Operation Iraqi Freedom has 4459 dead in 9 years of fighting.

Freedom is not free.

Anyone willing to put on the uniform of any branch of the United States military is a hero in my book. Anyone willing to volunteer to free another nation from tyranny is of the highest order of hero. Thank You for your willingness to serve and your sacrifice for others.

Congressional Medal of Honor Winners for the Normandy Invasion.

Arthur F. Defanzo

Carlos C. Ogden

Carlton W. Barrett

Charles N. DeGlopper

Frank D. Peregory

Jimmie W. Monteith

John D. Kelly

John E. Butts

John J. Pinder, Jr.

Robert G. Cole

Theodore D. Roosevelt, Jr.

Walter D. Ehlers 2007 Interview Pritzker Military Library