Today is June 6, The 75th anniversary of D-Day. We are coming to you live from northern France.
D-day was the coordinated assault by Allied forces on the beaches of Normandy. It was the beginning of the liberation of Europe from Nazi occupation.
The assault on the beaches of Normandy had several coordinated steps. The first involved a diversion to draw the attention of the German forces away from the intended landings. The second what is the landing of paratroopers behind enemy lines to secure several key bridges that would prevent the Nazi army from bringing in reinforcements. Finally there was the simultaneous landing on several beaches. Those beaches were given codenames like Juno Beach, and Omaha Beach. Those code names have become so important to world history, that in many ways they have replaced the actual names of the beaches that preceded that day.
Immediately behind the beaches were steep cliffs that were heavily fortified with gunners and infantrymen holed up in concrete bunkers.
The casualties suffered by Allied forces on that day were significant. But eventually with the help of artillery from the ships offshore pounding the cliffs, the troops eventually made a successful landfall and managed to secure the beaches.
The very first troops to come ashore came in amphibious landing craft and had to wade through waist deep water with heavy equipment all the while making sure to keep their weapon dry.
Many soldiers perished in those last few feet before reaching the beach.
Once the beaches were secured, the allied forces brought floating docks that could facilitate the process of bringing thousands of trucks, jeeps, tanks and artillery ashore. Eventually, the allied forces under the command of General George Patton, were able to secure the liberation of Western Europe.
Today is a day much like the recent memorial day holiday in the US to remember those who sacrificed so that we could regain freedom through much of the western world.
There are very few families who were untouched by the calamity of the second world war. Both of my parents escaped Europe in 1939.
My father boarded a ship from Italy and landed in New York City. His name is among the millions who are listed in the registry at Ellis Island. My mother boarded a ship bound for Argentina. They sought refuge in Buenos Aires for about six months before making the journey where she too came through Ellis Island.
Sadly hundreds of members of my extended family grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins never made it to freedom. The entire community on the island of Rhodes perished in concentration camps in 1944.
I am enormously grateful to be alive today and do you benefit from the freedoms and liberties that we enjoy.
I also recognize that my parents would never have met had it not been for the war. My wife and I would never have met had it not been for the war.
In the years that followed since 1945, The world has seen countless other conflicts. My wish and prayer is that we see a future world devoid of ego driven conflict.