Tuesday June 3, 2014
What is it?
June 6 is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings that marked the beginning of the end of World War II. To honor the courage and sacrifice of Americans and the Allies in that daring invasion, U.S. forces will take part in more than 30 French and American commemorative events in the region June 3-8.
The theme for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day commemoration is Honoring the Past, Securing the Future.
What is the Army doing?
U.S. Army Europe is the lead Army agency and executive agent for U.S. European Command for the ceremonies, including serving as host for the official American commemoration at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial overlooking Omaha Beach on June 6.
Task Force Normandy, led by USAREUR's 173rd Airborne Brigade, has organized 20 U.S. units, including eight historical units, as well as about 650 personnel from the six Allied Forces nations, to participate in these commemorations. Buglers, color guards, an aircraft flyover, marching formations and bands, will take part in events touching 14 French communities.
A multinational paratrooper jump has also been planned at Sainte-Mere-Eglise, in Normandy in north-western France. This will commemorate the historic airborne insertion of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions during the invasion, which along with the largest amphibious invasion ever attempted, secured a foothold to launch operations onto the European continent and end the World War II.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
Seventy years after the Normandy landings, America and its Allies continue to profit from the bonds they forged. European nations make up 75 percent of the countries contributing to NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. The Army routinely trains and deploys alongside its partners from a 51-country theater in Europe. The Army remains committed to current missions and contingencies from Land Forces Assurance Exercises in Poland and the Baltic nations that demonstrate the Army's persistent presence in the region, to air defense support in Turkey.
Why is this important to the Army?
Honoring the Army's heritage, saluting and learning from those who sacrificed for the nation are key elements of the Army profession. D-Day is a valued reminder of the nation's past. The invasion gave birth to many valuable multinational operations and forged alliances. Even after 70 years, the professionalism, sacrifice and ethos of the allied service members of the day continue to inspire Soldiers.
Focus Quote for the Day
I don't consider it a sacrifice. A lot of people said it was a sacrifice. It's not a sacrifice. It's a duty that you're obligated to do. If you live in a free country, whether you agree with what they do, if you're called, you should go and do your very best.
- Veteran paratrooper Jim "Pee Wee" Martin, speaks in an interview prior to his return to coastal France to mark the 70th anniversary of the invasion that changed the course of World War II. Martin as a 23 year old private, with the elite 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, had jumped into Normandy on D-Day.
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