On June 6, 1944, Allied forces stormed five beaches in Normandy. They showed exceptional bravery in the face of Nazi German opposition but suffered heavy losses. More than 4400 Allied soldiers died, and 2501 of these were Americans.
These men were willing to lay down their lives to save the world from tyranny. It’s important to honor both these fallen heroes, and the survivors, and there are several ways you can do this. Here are 5 ways to honor the heroes of D-Day.
Visit the D-Day Landing Sites
There are D-Day monuments and memorials across the world. However, the most notable memorials of this important WW2 event are in Normandy itself. If you can travel there, you will find the D-day landing sites well preserved.
Visit the beaches of Normandy, and memorials and museums at these landing sites. Take a guided tour, or do your own tour of the area. You’ll learn a lot more about D-Day at these sites than you would from simply reading about it or watching a documentary.
Utah Beach was the westernmost of these D-Day landing beaches. The Utah Beach Museum is perfectly positioned, allowing you to see the landing site and a selection of WW2 aircraft and war memorabilia. You’ll also have an excellent beach view from the large diorama display room.
Commemorate D-Day Anniversaries
On the 6th of June 1944, world history was made. D-day was the largest seaborne invasion the world had ever seen. Several countries and nearly 160,000 troops participated in this military operation. Almost 80 years later, this day still holds a special place in people’s minds and hearts.
Commemorate the D-Day anniversary with your friends and family. Include any elderly neighbors who are D-Day survivors. If you don’t know any, include neighbors whose relatives fought there. Get together for a meal and invite them to share their stories. Remember to hold a minute’s silence for the fallen.
Alternatively, while planning your summer family vacation, check community newspapers for D-Day anniversary events to attend. There’s usually something happening you can be a part of. If nothing is scheduled for your area, be the first to establish a new annual event. Consult your community leaders for advice and guidance.
Support D-Day Veterans and Their Families
All the soldiers who died on the shores of Normandy should be remembered. They paid the ultimate sacrifice, fighting on the orders of their respective nations. But the others on those beaches with them had to keep fighting, despite their friends falling at their sides.
These surviving heroes made it home, but they made sacrifices too. They sacrificed time with their families. Many were maimed and injured. And when they finally returned home, their minds were filled with the painful images of war.
Show your appreciation for the surviving WW2 veterans by supporting D-day veterans and their families. Find out where veteran’s associations are in or near your area. Do what you can to support them, whether it is visiting these veterans and their families or making a cash donation to groups that see to their needs.
Start a New Family Tradition Honoring D-Day Heroes
Fortunately, despite the adverse conditions and the high number of casualties, many soldiers survived the D-day Normandy invasions. Amazingly, some of them are still alive today, but because of their advanced age, they too may leave us soon.
So while you can still visit some of these brave veterans today, the time is fast approaching when you won’t be able to. Don’t let your remembrance of their sacrifices, and those of their fellow soldiers, die with them. Start a new family tradition this year, one that honors these heroic soldiers on D-day.
For example, the next time you visit Virginia, check out the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford. Instill an appreciation for their sacrifices in your children, and their children, and keep the chain of honoring our heroes going for generations.
Educate Others About D-Day
The World Wars impacted everyone worldwide. Landscapes changed, and families far and wide lost loved ones. The best way to ensure that we never face such atrocities of war again is to never forget those who fought and died for this cause. So how can we continue to honor WW2 veterans?
If you’ve been to the sites and museums, and spoken to survivors and their families, put your newfound knowledge about D-Day to good use. Honor the soldiers and tell the stories they can no longer tell in person.
When you educate others about this important historic event, you do more than just impart knowledge. You keep these heroes’ memories alive. Pass your knowledge of D-Day on to future generations by organizing talks or sharing educational resources with local schools.
Image Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/normandy-d-day-cemetery-omaha-beach-1046101/