Gardner Honors the 75th Anniversary of D-Day
Washington, D.C. – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) took to the Senate floor in honor of the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Gardner also participated in the Reading of the Names as part of Friends of the National World War II Memorial’s Operation Overlord 75th Anniversary Commemoration at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
NOTE: B-roll from D-Day Reading of the Names available here
NOTE: View Senator Gardner’s floor remarks here or by clicking on the photo above for downloadable link
Remarks as prepared for delivery
Seventy-five years ago tomorrow, June 5, 1944, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, gave a speech to U.S. soldiers the day before the invasion of Normandy:
“Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have
striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The
hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.
In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on
other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war
machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of
Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
“Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well
equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.
“But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of
1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats,
in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their
strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home
Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions
of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men.
The tide has turned! The freemen of the world are marching together to
“I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in
battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!
“Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great
and noble undertaking.”
It was an undertaking not just remarkable for its logistical effort and massive supply planning, but for what it meant to humanity: A mobilization in the name of freedom to stand against evil, a massive undertaking uncertain of outcome to fight oppression for a free world.
I hope every American will take some time this week to reflect on that massive undertaking that ultimately led to the liberation of Europe, the destruction of Adolf Hitler and the end of World War II. To reflect on the sacrifice and courage, the selfless acts of bravery and the stories of families who never saw a loved one return.
The decision to move forward with the invasion was reached in late 1943. By May of 1944, 2,876,000 Allied troops were amassed in southern England. Gathered along with the millions of soldiers was the largest armada in World history, with over 4,000 ships from Canada, the United States and Britain. Eleven thousand airplanes participated in the invasion, pounding the shores and Nazi positions, and delivering supplies and thousands of troops up and down the coast of France.
The assault began shortly after midnight on June 6, 1944, with allied bombers attacking targets along the coast and inland. More than 24,000 American, British, and Canadian airborne assault troops and 1,200 aircraft followed the air bombardment. At 1:30 a.m. the 101st Airborne Division began landing at 2:30 a.m. The second phase on the coast began at 5:30 a.m. when six Allied divisions and numerous small units began landing on five beaches. In total, the Allies landed more than 160,000 troops at Normandy – 73,000 were American along with 83,115 British and Canadian forces who landed on Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches.
By the end of the first day, allied casualties were estimated at 10,000 killed, wounded, and missing in action: 6,603 Americans, 2,700 British, and 946 Canadians. From D-day through August 21, the Allies landed more than two million men in northern France and suffered more than 226,386 casualties: 72,911 killed/missing and 153,475 wounded. They paid the ultimate price to save the world from tyranny. Their average age was 26.
Etched in the pavement of the US Armed Forces Memorial Garden in Normandy France are the words: “From the heart of our land flows the blood of our youth, given to you in the name of freedom.” Let us never forget the sacrifice of the greatest treasure this nation has and what these men and women did for a free world and free people.
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