As all of you know, Monday, May 29, is Memorial Day. Memorial Day is the day that we remember and honor all the soldiers who lost their lives in battle. This Memorial Day, I would like to acknowledge the heroes who died fighting for not only our country but for France as well.
The National Guard Monument on Omaha Beach
The brave National Guardsmen who battled in World War II are honored at Omaha Beach in Vierville-sur-Mer, France. The National Guard Monument rests above the German defensive blockhouse (WN72), which hosts an 88 mm cannon. Today, the NGEF maintains the monument and blockhouse. Moreover, Richard M. Goldberg explains in his article, “Banner Event,” in National Guard Magazine that this monument is “where the 29th National Guard Division broke through German defenses on D-Day.” Now, the story of the fearless National Guardsmen who fought in the battle is inscribed on the walls of the monument in both English and French. In addition, quotes from Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle are inscribed on the outside of the memorial.
Remembering The D-Day Soldiers Today
Most of us have only seen glorified images of D-Day in “Saving Private Ryan,” but this monument represents more. It is located where the United States had the greatest amount of casualties on June 6, 1944. According to the D-Day Museum’s website, approximately 156,000 allied troops arrived in Normandy on D-Day. Furthermore, “The American forces landed numbered 73,000: 23,250 on Utah Beach, 34,250 on Omaha Beach, and 15,500 airborne troops.” Unfortunately, there is not an official record of the total amount of casualties on June 6, 1944. However, the estimated amount of American casualties in 6,603.
This Memorial Day, let’s not forget the National Guardsmen who fought for an allied victory in World War II. Goldberg, who visited the memorial, himself, explains how important his experience was. He saw the American flag rise to its post on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. He states, “I cannot put into words the pride I felt seeing the American flag rise to its rightful home in Vierville-sur-Mer.” In short, let’s all take this Memorial Day to remember the 29th National Guard Division that battled on the shores of Omaha Beach.