Monday, June 6, 2011

WDVA: Looking Back on the Significance of D-Day


D-Day Statement by Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Acting Secretary Donna Williams

June 6th marks the anniversary of “D-Day,” referring to the D-Day invasion in Europe in 1944.  This year commemorates the 67th anniversary of Operation Overlord, or “D-Day,” when thousands of American and British troops landed on the shores of Normandy with the objective of securing it from Nazi Germany, through additional land and naval support of other Allied nations.  The assault, the largest seaborne invasion in history to that time, is considered to be the turning point in the war towards the Allied victory, but it was not without cost. Total Allied casualties on D-Day are estimated at 10,000, including over 2,500 dead.

As our World War II veterans of our greatest generation are passing on, Americans look back on the significance of June 6,1944 and the historical importance of D-Day.  More than 330,000 Wisconsin service members served in World War II, with about 37,000 of them alive today; only a certain percentage of them took part in Operation Overlord.

The National World War II Memorial on the national mall in Washington, D.C. was dedicated seven years ago, on May29, 2004.  The National Honor Flight Network is bringing World War II veterans and terminally ill veterans to visit the memorial.  There are several flight hubs in Wisconsin with future flights being planned.

Also in keeping the historical significance alive, the Wisconsin Veterans Museum preserves the materials and memories of all Wisconsin veterans, including those at D-Day, through the Wisconsin Veterans Oral History Project, as well as archives and object collections.

Today, let’s look back and remember the importance of the heroic invasion 67 years ago on “D-Day.”

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