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Many memorials have been erected to commemorate World War II; but the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial has particular significance for D-Day veterans as it represents the final resting place of 9,387 Americans who perished at Normandy, and 307 graves are marked unknown. Another 1,557 names are inscribed on a wall there who lost their lives but could not be located or identified.

At the cemetery during the 40th anniversary of D-day, President Ronald Reagan asked, “Where do we find them? Where do we find such men? And the answer came almost as quickly as I had asked the question; where we have always found them in this country; on the farms, in the shops, the stores and the offices. They are just the product of the freest society the world has ever known.

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And that’s just the point–the lesson taught by the veterans of D-Day, and all the other veterans who fought for our country is simple: Freedom is not free. It has to be paid for by the sweat and blood of those willing to fight and protect it. We must be mindful of their sacrifice well after the last Normandy veteran has passed.

As Reagan said at the 40th, “We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may be always free.

Let us hope future generations will be able to rise to the occasion when called upon, just as the D-Day vets did. Congratulations veterans, and Thank You.

For more information on D-Day, see the National WW2 Museum.

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Keep the Faith!

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Photo credit: Bill Strain (Flickr)

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