North Carolina congressional delegation remembers D-Day

Thursday marked the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the day when U.S. Armed Forces and Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, to liberate Europe from Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

On June 6, 1944, Operation Overlord began with 73,000 members of the United States Armed Forces and over 83,000 of their counterparts, including those from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, and others.

More than 4,400 Allied soldiers were wounded or killed on the first day, including approximately 2,500 Americans and 39 were North Carolinians. Approximately 8,500 North Carolina service members made the ultimate sacrifice serving in World War II.

Equipment had to be specially constructed for the D-Day invasion, including Mulberry harbours. These were two temporary portable harbours developed by the British, designed to facilitate the rapid offloading of cargo onto the beaches, as the invasion was the first of its kind on this scale.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden and other world leaders, along with a small group of WWII veterans, marked the occasion on Omaha Beach.

Despite the lack of events by the NC Military Affairs Commission, the NC Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the NC Department of Cultural and Natural Resources, and the NC Museum of History, North Carolina’s congressional delegation remembered the day.

The US Senate recently passed a resolution introduced by US Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, commemorating D-Day and expressing gratitude and appreciation to the members of the US Armed Forces and Allied troops responsible for carrying out the unprecedented operation that proved decisive in securing victory in Europe.

“I am glad to see the Senate pass this resolution recognizing the bravery of the servicemembers who valiantly defended freedom 80 years ago on D-Day,” Tillis said in a press release. “I am proud to represent a state that played a major role in D-Day with servicemembers from North Carolina deployed across Normandy during Operation Overlord. On the 80th anniversary of D-Day, we honor the veterans who served and remember the ultimate sacrifice so many made on that historic day.” 

Tillis, along with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, published an op-ed reflecting on the day and the importance of recommitting to preserving our alliances and combatting authoritarianism in our world today. 

“It is often said that ‘History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes,’ and as we reflect upon the 80th anniversary of the Allies’ victory at Normandy, we should take note of the parallels between then and now,” he commented on the parallels between D-Day and today. “Once again, the world is confronted with a regime that has shown a flagrant disregard for human rights and the international norms that have accompanied a more peaceful and economically stable post-World War II world.”

“Today, as we celebrate D-Day’s 80th anniversary, we remember the men who took the cliffs, faced the gunfire and paid the ultimate sacrifice for people they would never meet,” said US Sen. Ted Budd, R-NC, in a press release. “This was the Greatest Generation’s greatest moment. It is because of them that America remains a strong nation. It is up to all of us to live up to their example and be patriotic stewards of the miracle that they passed down to us. May God Bless each and every one of the men of D-Day, and may God continue to Bless the United States of America.”

Budd also released a video commemorating the day.

“Visiting the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France in 2019 to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom is an experience I will never forget,” Congressman David Rouzer, R, NC-07, said in a post on X. “Today, on the 80th anniversary of D-Day, we honor the brave U.S. and Allied troops who stormed the beaches of Normandy to liberate our world from tyranny. Shall we always remember the heroism of the Greatest Generation and those who turned the tide of WWII on this day in 1944.”

“Commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day is about honoring the past, and today provides us an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to freedom and republican virtue,” said Donald Bryson, CEO of the John Locke Foundation.“In doing so, let’s fight for the world that President Franklin Roosevelt prayed for in his radio address to the nation on D-Day, when he hoped for “a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.”

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