D-Day Anniversary

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D-Day June 6, 1944.  D-Day was the date of the invasion of the European continent by the Allies, and the beginning of the end of the war in Europe. Allied forces were commanded by five-star general Dwight Eisenhower; German general Erwin Rommel commanded the defenses along the Atlantic coast. The original invasion date was June 5; bad weather postponed the invasion one day.

Code named Operation Overlord, the Allies landed on the northern coast of France, called Normandy. 160,000 Allied Soldiers invaded that day, the largest invasion in history. 5,000 ships were used along with 13,000 aircraft. Approximately 4,000 Allied Soldiers were killed on D-Day, and thousands were injured or missing in action.

Prior to the invasion the Allies carried on a massive deception scheme, led by General George Patton, to convince the Germans that the invasion would occur at the narrowest point in the English Channel (the quickest and easiest to cross), rather than Normandy. Fighting on the invasion beaches continued until June 11. By the end of June, 850,000 Allied Soldiers and 150,000 vehicles had landed. The war in Europe was over almost a year later, May 8, 1945.

The D in D-Day simply stands for day. In the extensive planning for the invasion, certain events or movements had to occur in sequence, and by certain dates. With D-Day as the day of the invasion, events that had to occur the day before were on D-1 (the Day of the invasion minus 1) and supplies or other events to be delivered or occur two days after the invasion were designated on D+2 (two days after the invasion).

One cannot appreciate the heroism of the American Soldiers storming the beaches of Normandy until one has stood on top of the defenses at Pointe du Hoc at Omaha beach and gazed down below at the long flat beach that these heroes had to cross before climbing up steep cliffs to finally face the enemy. The United States suffered 418,000 military and civilian deaths in World War II. 1,094 of those brave Soldiers killed in WWII were from the Panhandle; their names are inscribed on the monuments in our Veterans’ Park.

There are few WWII veterans still alive. If you know of a World War II veteran, thank them for their service and sacrifice, especially those involved in the invasion. Thank their family members. Their selfless service to our country is why we are free today.

The Texas Panhandle War Memorial Center is hosting our annual Car Show this Saturday, June 5, 2021, at the War Memorial, 4111 S. Georgia. Registration for a show car is $25 and is from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The public show will begin at 9:30 and end at 2 p.m. after awards are given to winning show cars in a variety of categories. Admission is free to the Car Show and also to the War Memorial this Saturday. All proceeds benefit the War Memorial. Come out and enjoy the cars and the exhibits in the War Memorial.

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