Remember the Fallen: A day that changed history

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Rusty Frank
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Editor's note: This is the third of a four-part series in honoring our fallen heroes.

Prior to the invasion of Europe, U.S. Army Gen. Dwight Eisenhower said "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...."

It was with those the words that Operation Overlord, also known as D-Day, started. On that day, more than 36,000 allied service members died.

"So many lives were lost 70 years ago on June 6, 1944," said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Michael Murieen, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron section chief of water and fuel systems maintenance. "It was a day that changed history and the course of World War II and it ultimately led to the liberation of Europe."

When the largest amphibious assault of the time launched, the goal was to attack the coast of France and secure a foothold on the continent.

"On that day, Operation Overlord kicked off with the largest amphibious assault, and it happened here on the Normandy coast of France," he said. "The allied invasion changed the tide of the war and it made the enemy fight on two fronts."

Murieen said that D-Day is not only important for the U.S. service members to remember, but it's also important for all allied partners to remember, because it's the day that an entire continent was going to be liberated.

June 6, 1944, is a day that should always be remembered because of the heroes that paid the ultimate sacrifice.

"So many lives were lost on their own free will to liberate a country that they had never been to," he said. "I think that we should never forget that."