Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) paid tribute to D-Day veterans during consideration of H. Res. 259, expressing the gratitude and appreciation of the House of Representatives for the acts of heroism and military achievement by the members of the United States Armed Forces who participated in the June 6, 1944, amphibious landing at Normandy, France, and commending them for leadership and valor in an operation that helped bring an end to World War II. Skelton’s remarks as prepared for delivery are attached:
“I rise in strong support of H. Res. 259, expressing gratitude and appreciation to the U.S. Forces who took part in World War II’s D-Day invasion, which led to the end of the war in Europe.
“This resolution urges Americans to honor the heroic deeds and immeasurable sacrifices of our Allied troops on D-Day. The passing of the years fails to diminish the tremendous debt we owe to the Greatest Generation for liberating Europe and fighting to preserve freedom.
“Almost sixty-five years ago, on June 6, 1944, American and Allied Forces invaded Normandy, France, in Operation Overlord. Thus began the arduous task of liberating Europe from the yoke of Nazi tyranny. At the time, few people understood the full impact this invasion would have. But with the success of the D-Day invasion, the tide of the war swung in favor of the Allies, and Adolf Hitler began his ultimate demise.
“The sheer scale of Operation Overlord is astounding and even today remains the largest single amphibious assault in history. The first day of the operation involved 5,000 naval vessels, more than 11,000 sorties by Allied aircraft, and 153,000 members of the Allied Expeditionary Force, composed of American, British, and Canadian forces.
“But it is important to remember that Allied victory against the entrenched Nazi forces was hardly a foregone conclusion. Our courageous troops who participated in the invasion understood the enormous risks – and more than 6,500 lost their lives in the effort – but their dedication to duty and love of freedom gave them the strength to take on the seemingly impossible task before them. Their sacrifices made it possible to restore true freedom to millions of people across the European continent.
“I was a young teenager during World War II, and my friends and neighbors in uniform were my heroes. The achievements of our D-Day veterans and all those who fought in World War II continue to inspire me today. But our nation has been blessed with generation after generation of patriotic Americans who have selflessly served our country.
“As we honor the heroes of D-Day, our thoughts, prayers, and gratitude go also to today’s volunteers who wear our nation’s uniform. Today’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines inherit a proud legacy from those who stormed the beaches of Normandy: a legacy of commitment to duty, dedication to freedom, and love of country. As we recognize the 65th anniversary of D-Day, our nation has an obligation to remember all of these heroes.”