By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Saturday, June 6, was the 71st anniversary of the D-Day landings in which 155,000 allied troops invaded 50 miles of heavily defended beach to free Europe from Nazi occupation during World War II. Many of Alabama’s leaders paused to remember the sacrifices of those brave men that day.
US Representative Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) said in a written statement, “71 years ago today heroes stormed the beaches of Normandy to fight for the future of humanity. We owe them a debt we can never pay. What we can do is remember them and honor their amazing courage and sacrifice.”
US Representative Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) said in his own statement, “There are still those among us that served on that fateful day. Men like Sherwin Callander of Madison, Alabama, age 95, who joined the Navy in 1939 and whose ship was on its way to Pearl Harbor when it was attacked. He was later part of the landing on Utah Beach on D-Day. Additionally, men like Nathan Smith, a Marine who made four landings in the South Pacific and was wounded on the fourth day of Iwo Jima, and Carl Cooper, also a Marine who fought in the Battle of Okinawa. Let us remember heroes like them on this day, thank them for their service, and remember the spirit in which they served. If America is to live up to its potential and remain as a beacon of freedom, it will be in large part because we remember the values that men like these fought for, and still represent today.”
US Representative Robert Aderholt said, “71 years ago today, brave, but I’m sure very frightened, young men stormed the beaches of Normandy. Seven decades later, their bravery and their sacrifice is not forgotten.”
Congressman Palmer wrote, “Seventy one years ago, the invasion of Normandy marked the beginning of the end of the Nazi regime; a regime which represented one of the greatest threats to peace and freedom in history. This was made possible because thousands of brave men chose to fight, bleed and die for their country, and for the cause of freedom. The D-Day invasion claimed the lives of 2,499 Americans, while 1,914 from our allied nations also paid the ultimate price. Since we have remembered their victory for so many years, it is easy to forget that at the time, victory was not inevitable. While the leader of the invasion, General Dwight Eisenhower, famously said ‘We will accept nothing less than full victory,’ history also tells us that he had written a letter taking full responsibility in the event of defeat. Their sacrifice was not made because they knew they would win. It was made because they knew their cause was right, and that peace and freedom are worth the price.”
World War II was the largest and costliest war in human history to date.