80 years since D-Day

D-Day is not just a U.S. holiday, but a significant event in American history. It refers to the day of the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, an event that “marked the beginning of the end of World War II,” according to the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services.

“Today marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day,” U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), the longest serving veteran on Capitol Hill, said today. “We’re forever in debt to the thousands of brave soldiers who gave their lives to defend freedom and democracy on that fateful day. They will never be forgotten.”

On that day, more than 160,000 members of the Allied forces, including American troops, launched a massive invasion of German-occupied France by sea and air. The operation was a critical turning point in the war, as it allowed the Allies to establish a foothold in Europe and begin to push back against the Axis powers.

The significance of D-Day lies in its role in the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany and the liberation of Europe from tyranny. The sacrifices made by the soldiers who participated in the invasion are remembered and honored, as their bravery and determination helped to shape the course of history.

“Observing D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II, is an opportunity to remember and honor the sacrifices made by the brave soldiers who fought and died for freedom,” the Arizona Coalition for Military Families said in a statement today.

More than 2,000 Americans lost their lives on D-Day, including Arizonans James King and Carl Monson.

“Their sacrifice will never be forgotten,” U.S. Rep Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) said of the two men.

Today, Arizona U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) joined American servicemembers and veterans in Normandy to celebrate the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Sinema was part of a bipartisan delegation of U.S. senators, the president, secretary of state and secretary of defense.

“I’m honored to join American servicemembers and veterans in Normandy to pay tribute to the brave American heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice on D-Day for freedom and peace,” said Sinema.

Sinema participated in the D-Day ceremony and thanked American servicemembers and veterans for their service. Sinema also visited the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial to visit the graves of fallen American heroes and honor their ultimate sacrifice to liberate Europe from Nazi Germany.

As chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans’ Affairs, Sinema oversees funding for the American Battle Monuments Commission, which administers the Normandy American Museum and Memorial. That location is final resting place of 9,388 American military dead, most of whom were killed during the invasion of Normandy and ensuing military operations in World War II. Included are graves of Army Air Corps crews shot down over France as early as 1942 and four American women.

The mainspring event is still fresh in the American psyche. President Joe Biden equated Ukraine’s ongoing battle for its young democracy to the defeat of the Axis powers 80 years ago.

“To surrender to bullies, to bow down to dictators is simply unthinkable,” Biden said. “If we were to do that, it means we’d be forgetting what happened here on these hallowed beaches.”

Only an estimated 150 D-Day veterans are still alive to share their stories, according to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Sun City resident Charles Seiter, 103, is one of them. Notable Air Force Gen. Seth Jefferson McKee, the highest-ranking survivor of D-Day who lived in Scottsdale, died in 2016.

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