Today, the world marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied troops’ invasion of occupied France at the beaches of Normandy during World War II.

It remains the largest beach invasion in history, turning the tide of the war to the advantage of the Allied troops and leading to changes in the very face of globe.

Some facts, according to the History Channel:

∫ Amphibious invasions began at 6:30 a.m. June 6, 1944.

∫ More than 4,000 Allied troops died in the invasion, including 2,000 American casualties at Omaha Beach.

∫ By the end of the day June 6, 156,000 Allied troops had stormed Normandy beaches.

∫ By June 11, more than 326,000 troops, 50,000 vehicles, and 100,000 tons of equipment had landed successfully at Normandy

According to the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, one platoon from the Michigan National Guard’s 254th Combat Engineer Battalion went ashore with the first wave at Omaha Beach on D-Day, while others were ashore by June 8. The Guard’s 107th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron also played a vital role.

To many of us, those statistics might be just numbers, more in an endless roll of factoids we were expected to learn in school.

To a precious increasingly few, those figures are mere headlines of a day they’ll never forget, footnotes to diary entries about lost friends.

To those who served at Normandy or in any other theater during WWII or any other American war, we say thank you.

Thanks, too, to those graduates finishing their high school careers this spring and preparing to don the uniform.

As for the rest of us, may we take an opportunity today to not just remember the facts or watch the documentaries, but to meditate on the meaning behind the history and to be grateful for the future those sacrifices secured on our behalf.



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