VFW Post 8904, Auxiliary Remember 79th Anniversary of D-Day

June 6, 2023 - VFW Post 8904 Veterans and Auxiliary members gathered at the Shelby County Veterans Memorial to remember D-Day on its 79th anniversary, June 6, 2023.

Larry Hume, Post Quartermaster, opened the ceremony and Kenneth Ramsey, Post Chaplain, gave the opening prayer.

“We’re here today to commemorate the 79th anniversary of one of the most important dates in history,” said Hume. “It’s commonly known as D-Day, the code name was Operation Overlord, and D-Day was the turning point in World War II.”

Hume described how June 6, 1944, saw the start of the largest air and sea operation in military history before, and since that time. 

“On December the 6th 1943, President Roosevelt appointed General Dwight D. Eisenhower as commander of the cross-channel operation and on that day, D-Day, the Allies landed around 156,000 troops of which 73,000 were Americans,” said Hume. “Now, it’s hard me and I’m sure you to conceive the epic scope of this decisive battle that foreshadowed the end of Hitler’s dream of Nazi domination."

Hume shared Operation Overlord was the largest air, land and sea operation undertaken, and the landing included over 5,000 ships, 11,000 airplanes as well as over 150,000 service members.

“After years of meticulous planning and [seemingly endless] training, if you were there it all came down to this, you’re in the boat, the boat ramp goes down, then you jump, you swim, you run, and you crawl to the cliffs,” said Hume. 

Hume elaborated that many of the first young men, of whom most had not yet reached 20 years of age, entered the surf carrying 80 pounds of equipment, as they faced over 200 yards of beach before reaching the first natural feature offering any protection.

“Blanketed by small arms fire and bracketed by artillery, they found themselves in virtual hell,” said Hume. “When it was over, the Allied Forces had suffered nearly 10,000 casualties and more than 4,000 were dead. Yet, somehow due to planning and preparation and due to the valor and the sacrifice of the Allied forces, Europe had been breached.”

Humes stated there’s no official casualty figure for D-Day, and the total Allied casualties for D-Day are estimated at 10,000 with US Forces having lost over 6,600 men. Five beaches used as entry points were code named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.

Ike Reeves, VFW Post 8904 member, placed the memorial wreath upon the Shelby County Veterans Memorial, and Taps was played as presented by Gene Hutto, Past Post Commander.