June 6, 1944. Revere, Massachusetts – moments after the announcement over the radio that the invasion of Europe had begun to spread.
Men and women throughout this city with sons and daughters in the armed forces fell to their knees where they stood and prayed, cried or simply collapsed.
The thought of it was paralyzing, crushing, beyond compare. Now, the parents knew what was up. The secrecy was broken. One million Americans under arms were about to pour onto the European continent.
Religious places of worship filled and remained open throughout the night – with most churches and synagogues packed with mothers and fathers praying for their children who stormed the beaches of Normandy that morning.
It was a week before any of the parents of those who died storming the French beaches heard anything from the government, and then they came in a torrent – the telegrams from the War Department, brought to parents standing on their doorsteps on Mountain Avenue, Revere Street, Central Avenue and on streets all over the city, by well-dressed officers, informing parents that their son or daughter had died in combat.
Sixty-five years later, the world stopped for a moment last weekend to honor the dead from that invasion, which turned the tide against the Nazis and their domination of Europe. More than 10,000 Americans died on the beaches in France on that day in 1944.
How can anyone attempt to weigh such a loss? All we know today is that those who stormed those beaches in June 1944 and who died on the way to Paris and then to Berlin, were brave men and women.
Brave doesn’t even begin to describe who they were. Their loss saved the world. We honor their sacrifice.