Nation must never forget price paid on Normandy beaches

Seventy years ago today was the start of the end of World War II: D-Day.

The Invasion of Normandy began on that day in 1944, launching the largest seaborne invasion in history as Allied forces stormed Western Europe.

When it was over, thousands of troops had perished in the terrible battle on the French shoreline, but the push to bring a halt to the Axis reign of terror was begun. Troops from Canada, Great Britain and the United States, wave after wave of humanity, hit Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno and Sword beaches, 24,000 strong.

The objective was to begin to reclaim France, which was occupied by Adolph Hitler’s forces, in order to wrest Europe out of his evil hands.

Simply put, D-Day was the launch of the operation that helped bring World War II to its conclusion.

Ceremonies commemorating the 70th anniversary are taking place in France this morning as the more than 4,000 Allied dead from that day are remembered.

In today’s Mining Journal one of those men, Major William Richards, is recalled. He perished during the D-Day fighting, a loss which devastated friends and family back home in the Marquette area, especially his young wife, Clemency (Archibald) Richards.

His daughter, Susan, a toddler when her father died, said, “Courage and devotion to duty” were noted in the account of the landing when he was awarded posthumously the Distinguished Service Cross.

Indeed all the young men who took part in D-Day – all the young men and women who served their countries so gallantly during WWII – must be remembered for their courage and devotion.

To many, the story of D-Day was memorably related in the Steven Spielberg masterpiece, “Saving Private Ryan.” The film opens with a vivid retelling of the invasion but we still can only imagine the terror of that landing and the days that followed.

We ask our readers to pray for all those who died on D-Day, for all those who perished in World War II, for all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice defending America all these years.

And we hope that some day soon, no young Americans will be in harm’s way as these brave D-Day warriors were, so admirably stepping up when their nation needed them most.