As world leaders convene this week on the Normandy coast in France to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day, AJC joins with them in lauding the heroes of that momentous operation.
That day, the Allied forces, composed of American, British, Canadian and other servicemen, began to turn the tide of World War II in West Europe, establishing a second front on the continent that, together with the Soviet push from the east, led directly, 11 months later, to the capture of Berlin and Germany’s surrender. More than 4,000 Allied troops lost their lives on the first day, and thousands more were wounded. Many others were killed in battle in the ensuing days and weeks of the campaign that began on June 6.
“We cannot ever express enough gratitude for what those young soldiers achieved,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “Their courage and determination helped destroy an unparalleled tyranny bent on world conquest and, in the words of Adolf Hitler, a thousand-year reign. In a brilliant and complex operation, Allied forces took the German positions on the coast by surprise, and began the liberation of France. The military cemeteries along the Normandy coast are poignant testimony to the heroic deeds—and the ultimate sacrifice—of so many young men.”
As historian Stephen E. Ambrose wrote: “They were the soldiers of democracy. They were the men of D-Day, and to them we owe our freedom.”
“Indeed we do,” Harris added.