How Do You Thank The Men Of D-Day?

D-Day Remembered

A view of the Omaha Beach on May 7, 2014 near Colleville sur Mer, France. The Allied invasion to liberate mainland Europe from Nazi occupation during World War II took place on June 6, 1944. Operation Overlord, known as D-Day, was the largest sea borne invasion in military history. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images) World War Two, (D-Day), Invasion of France, pic: June 1944, American craft of all styles pictured at Omaha Beach, Normandy, during the first stages of the Allied invasion (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Opinion editorial by WBZ NewsRadio political analyst Jon Keller

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — How do you properly commemorate a massive human sacrifice that saved the world from unthinkable horror?

That’s the dilemma facing us today as we mark the 75th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy that marked the beginning of the end for the Nazis.

More than 150,000 troops crossed the channel on June 6th, 1944. By the end of the month, that number was nearly 900,000.

For perspective, today there are about 1.3 million active-duty troops in the entire US military.

More perspective: the Allies – Britain, Canada, Australia, Czechoslovakia, France, Norway, Poland and the US – lost an estimated 10,000 men on the beaches that day, with 4,414 confirmed dead. On 9/11/2001 we lost 3,000 people.

How many of these soldiers knew they were headed to almost certain death? Their leaders did – General Eisenhower was told in advance that he might lose 75% of his paratroopers.

And by the time the boats and planes neared the shore, most of those men almost surely understood what awaited them.

Watch the depiction of it in the movie “Saving Private Ryan” if you want to try to comprehend that.

What did they save us from?

Jews were the Nazis most prolific victims, but the list of those targeted goes on and on. You and yours would likely have been among them.

So how do we thank the brave men of D-Day and beyond and their surviving family and friends?

By saying thank you, with inexpressible awe and gratitude, and vowing to never let such sacrifice be necessary again.

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(Image Credit: Getty Images)

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Jon Keller is a WBZ TV & Radio political analyst. Read more

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