VFW Remembers D-Day on 80th Anniversary

June 6, 2024 - VFW Post 8904 gathered at the Shelby County Memorial on Thursday, June 6, 2024, in remembrance of D-Day on its 80th anniversary and American and Allied troops.

Richard Lundie, Post Commander, welcomed everyone to the program and offered an opening prayer. The group then recited the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.

“We are here today to honor the 80th anniversary of one of the most important dates of our history, commonly known as D-Day, codename Operation Overlord. D-Day was the turning point of World War II,” said Lundie. “June 6, 1944, saw the start of the largest air, land, and sea operation in our military history. On December 6, 1943, President Roosevelt appointed General Dwight D. Eisenhower as commander of the Cross Channel Operations. On D-Day, The Allied landed around 156,000 troops, of which 73,000 were American. 

“It is hard to conceive the epic scope of this decisive battle that foreshadowed the end of Hitler's dream of Nazi domination, Overlord was the largest air, land, and sea operation undertaken before or since June 6, 1944. The landing included over 5,000 ships, 11,000 aircrafts, and over 150,000 servicemen.” 

Lundie described the mindset of troops as they reached their objective on D-Day after years of meticulous and seemingly endless training, and planning it all came down to the boat ramp goes down, then you jump, swim, run, or crawl to the cliff.

“Many of our first young men, mostly not yet 20 years old, entered the surf carrying 80 pounds of equipment. They faced over 200 yards of beach before reaching the first natural feature for protection. Blanketed by small arm fire and blanketed by artillery, they found there self in hell,” said Lundie. 

When it was over, the Allied force had suffered over 10,000 casualties. Lundie gave statistics stating that more than 4,000 were dead, yet somehow, due to planning and preparation and due to valor and sacrifices of the Allied forces, Europe was breached. Lundie explained there is no official casualty figure for D-Day, but the total Allied casualty estimate on D-Day was over 10,000 with the U .S. forces losing over 6,600 men.

“Today we take time to reflect on that which took place on the beach of Normandy and appreciate the sacrifice made by so many. Those beaches was codenamed Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword,” said Lundie. 

Placing the memorial wreath on behalf of the VFW Post in honor of those who fought and gave their lives on June 6, 1944 and the days that followed was Maddox Gima.

As a final tribute, Taps was played as presented by Past-Post-Commander Gene Hutto.