In light of the last month’s D-Day anniversary and the Fourth of July, I find it important to reflect on the sacrifice made by thousands –including my grandfather– during these historic moments, which allow us to exercise the freedoms we enjoy today.
The idea of separating from England was on the minds of the founders before the summer of 1776, as Thomas Paine’s Common Sense was published earlier that year, and the battles of Lexington and Concord occurred the year prior. Then on July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress voted to secede from England and adopt the Declaration of Independence. This date would be known as the birth of America.
In the ensuing war, over 230,000 men served in the Continental Army, fighting for independence from England and the freedom a new nation would provide. While winning the war, many made the ultimate sacrifice for this freedom– almost 7,000. These men laid down their lives for us to be able to enjoy our rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness today.
Since America’s founding, our nation has worked to preserve and protect these freedoms that the Declaration of Independence envisioned and the Constitution would later outline. One of these events in American history is D-Day, an effort to free part of Europe from Nazi occupation which preceded Allied victory in World War II.
The Battle of Normandy began on D-Day, June 6, 1944, when Dwight Eisenhower led “land, air and sea forces of the allied armies in what became known as the largest invasion force in human history.” The battle lasted until August 30, when German armies retreated.
While this was a great victory for the United States and the Allied forces, it too did not come without a price. Thousands of young men my age, or even younger, stormed the beaches that hot summer day and in the days to come, one of them being my maternal grandfather. At just 19 years old, he was drafted into the military, where he served under Patton’s Third Army and was part of the invasion on the third day. He was the corporal of an anti-aircraft battalion that landed on Utah Beach. He went on to serve in the Battle of the Bulge.
While my grandfather –along with his three other brothers– was able to return home to the United States and reunite with my grandmother, not all of the men who fought beside him had the same fate. Many men who took part in the D-Day invasion made the ultimate sacrifice, with the death toll for the months-long operation amounting to 209,000 Allied casualties.
The price of freedom is not cheap. Many Americans have laid down their lives for us to enjoy these liberties today. As I think of my grandfather, the men of D-Day, our Founding Fathers, and all those who fought for our nation this weekend, I am reminded to reflect on the meaning of July Fourth.
Happy Independence Day to all, and God bless the USA.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.