EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – While America commemorates the 70th anniversary of the day 160,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, to crack the Nazi Germany regime, several Sound Shore residents took the time on Friday to thank veterans for their service.
June 6, 1944, was the beginning of the end for the Axis as more than 5,000 Allied ships and 13,000 aircraft supplemented the troops during the D-Day invasion. There were more than 9,000 casualties, including 2,500 dead, on that day, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 Allied soldiers to follow them onto the beaches and begin the march across Europe to defeat Adolf Hitler's Third Reich.
Across the globe on Friday, veterans, soldiers, world leaders and everyday citizens came together to honor and remember those that died not only on D-Day, but in any battle servicing their country.
“What can you say, other than thank you? They’re sacrificing themselves every day so we can come out here and shop and live our lives the way we want to,” Eastchester resident Max Griffith said at the Bronxville Sidewalk Sale. “They’re all heroes.”
The Normandy landings remain the largest amphibious invasion in history, and proved to be a decisive victory for the Allies as they began advancing west toward Berlin. The battle plan was so ambitious, that on the day of the landing, Winston Churchill told the House of Commons that “this vast operation is undoubtedly the most complicated and difficult that has ever occurred.”
Eastchester resident Brian Mitton, who has two grandparents who served in the Korean War, had a simple message for troops as the country remembers D-Day: thank you.
“It’d be nice to not need an army to protect our freedom, but I’m sure glad we have the best one in the world backing us up,” he said. “They deserve a hearty thank you from all of us.”
In Mount Vernon, James Johnson, who said he has one friend in the Marines and one in the Army, noted that it’s important to think about soldiers everyday, not just on special occasions or anniversaries.
“It’s great that we celebrate them today, and on Memorial Day and other holidays, but they’re out there everyday for this country,” he said. “God bless them.”