The 80th Anniversary of D-Day

The 80th Anniversary of D-Day June 6, 2024

Today is the anniversary of D-Day – the allies attack on the beaches of Normandy – Photo courtesy of codexperutrade.com

Today, June 6, 2024 is the 80th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion. This Is still the largest seaborne invasion in history as the Allies stormed the beaches of Normandy leading to the defeat of the German army in World War II. There were many good young men that lost their lives on this day, but without their sacrifice the world today may have looked very different.

The Road to the Invasion

While the Holocaust is believed to have started in 1941, the fact is that atrocities against Jews had started long before that. The United States tried to stay neutral in the war initially, but the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor changed all of that on December 7th 1941. It is largely believed that the Japanese attack facilitated the US entry in both the Pacific and the Atlantic. War was declared on the Japanese after the attack and then the US declared war on Germany 4 days later. Eric Mueller from Reference describes the decision on where to launch the attack:

Normandy Beach is located on the Northern Coast of France. The body of water that makes it a beach is not technically the Atlantic Ocean but rather the English Channel, which spans 21 miles between France and England. France’s proximity to England made the country a priority to defend because England was such an important ally to the U.S.

The Germans initially believed the attack was focused on Pas de Calais, the closest point to England, but the allies decided to attack at Normandy ~200 miles to the southwest. The date for the invasion had been pushed back to June 5, 1941, but bad weather forced a delay to the launch to June 6th. The rest is history. It is believed that 4,226 men died that day on the beaches of Normandy of which 2,501 were American soldiers. The average age of the Americans killed in battle was ~22 years old.

They Lay Down Their Lives for Others

In John 15:13 Jesus tells us:

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Think about this: The Allies sent thousands of soldiers including many teenagers and kids in the early twenties, to take a fortified beachhead in an effort to change the course of the war in Western Europe. For those leading the attack it must have felt like a suicide mission, but these heroes did their job and many lay down their lives for the people of their countries. This is agape love, unconditional love expressed through acts of kindness, compassion, and service. The D-Day invasion is one of the greatest acts of love and self-sacrifice we have seen in history as these men sacrificed their lives for others. So today, please take an extra moment or two and thank those that gave their lives and their families for the gift of these amazing men who changed the course of history by their actions on June 6, 1944.

Do you have a family member who served in the D-Day invasion? Is there anything you would like to share in observance of this day? As always, all comments are not only welcome, but encouraged. I would love to hear your thoughts about this incredible day.

God Bless

About Dennis McIntyre
In my early years I was a member of the Methodist church where I was baptized as a child and eventually became a lector for the church. I always felt I was a very faith-filled person, but that something was missing. My wife is Catholic and my children were baptized as Catholic and this helped me to find what I was looking for - to be part of something so much bigger than myself walking together with Jesus. I was welcomed into the Catholic faith and received the sacraments as a full member of the Catholic Church in 2004. I am a Spiritual Director, and very active in ministry serving as a Lector and Eucharistic Minister in addition to providing spiritual direction. I have spent time working with the sick and the terminally ill in local hospitals and Hospice Care centers and found these ministries to be very difficult, but extremely rewarding. You can read more about the author here.
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