Seventy-five years ago today, thousands of ordinary men did something truly extraordinary.

They struck a mighty blow for freedom. They showed Adolph Hitler and the rest of the world that Nazi Germany’s Fortress Europe was not invulnerable.

Those men who stormed the beaches in Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944 — forever known since as D-Day — and those who parachuted in under cover of the pre-dawn darkness came from all walks of life.

Some were rich, some were poor. They were bankers, teachers, farmers, common laborers. Some volunteered for the military, some were drafted.

Whatever path they took, they all shared one thing: They answered the call to fight tyranny. And, on that day, they proved that good can — and will — overcome evil. On that day, they became heroes.

There was a lot more fighting to go in World War II. Nazi Germany didn’t surrender until nearly a year later, in May 1945. And, Japan didn’t give up until August 1945.

No, the D-Day invasion didn’t end the war, but it was the beginning of the end in Europe.

American and British troops created a foothold in Western Europe, one that grew stronger in the days after the tenuous hold gained on June 6, 1944, while Soviet troops pushed from the east, squeezing Germany in between.

With each year that passes, D-Day becomes more distant. The number of men who participated in the great invasion grows smaller and smaller. But, we should never — indeed, we cannot — forget the sacrifices made that day.

Take a moment today to remember June 6, 1944. Remember D-Day. Remember the cost of freedom.

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