D-Day 79th Anniversary – A Day to Remember the Sacrifices

Today is the 79th anniversary of the largest seaborne invasion in world history. June 6, 1944 is known as D-Day. Operation Neptune began the liberation of German-occupied France. And later Europe.

The results of this campaign made the Allied victory on the Western front possible. Without it, there is no telling how World War II would have progressed and ended.

The U.S. and its allies landed 160,000 troops in France on that first day of the operation. They were supported by tens of thousands from multinational armed forces who manned warships and aircraft.

The price paid by the Allies on that historic day was horrific. More than 4,400 killed and 10,000 casualties. Of course, the well-fortified Germans suffered thousands of deaths and casualties as well. And those numbers skyrocketed as the campaign continued. 

Roosevelt’s Prayer United Americans 

As nervous family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers back in the U.S. awaited word of the battle and prayed that their loved ones abroad would survive, President Franklin Roosevelt offered up a powerful prayer that helped unite Americans. 

Crackling on radios across the country, as well as to service members and occupied nations around the world, Roosevelt’s words carried great weight.

Heard by an estimated 100 million people, his prayer included, “Almighty God, our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our republic, our religion, and our civilization. And to set free a suffering humanity.”

My good friend, Frank Bates, has a direct connection with D-Day. He served on two U.S. Navy ships that were involved in the Normandy landings a couple of decades earlier.

I’m handing it over to Frank now to share some of his Vietnam wartime memories. As well as his thoughts about our active-duty troops and veterans.

Frank Shares His Thoughts

I was born exactly 370 days after American forces landed on Omaha Beach to commence the Normandy invasion.

That invasion ultimately liberated Europe from the Nazi menace. And led to an Allied victory in World War II.  

So, I was not there. However, 25 years later as a young naval officer, I found myself at the conn of a U.S. Navy ship that WAS there. Right in the middle of things.

Landing Ship Dock Delivery

It was an LSD (Landing Ship Dock). You may think of it as a huge seagoing dump truck that shows up at amphibious landings.

That’s for the purpose of delivering and operating the so-called landing craft. (In case you ever wondered how all those little death traps got there.) 

Each LSD carried 30 to 40 of these little motorized cheese boxes crammed into a well deck.

Which, as the fun was getting ready to start, could be submerged sufficiently to float the landing craft. And allow them to start their engines. 

Awaiting the Signal

When the signal was given, the LSD would open its tailgate and disgorge its swarm of landing craft to go alongside assigned troop ships.

There they would be filled to the brim with soldiers. They’d line up facing the beach, waiting for the signal to advance. 

You’ve all seen the film footage about what happened next. By 1969, so had I.  

In Vietnam, the LSD’s job was not so glorious. LSDs hauled assorted junk up and down the coast. And because of their shallow draft and flat bottoms, they could navigate a good way up the rivers to resupply equipment to remote bases.

I Was at the Wheel 

They’d also serve as mobile repair facilities for river patrol boats. And later on, they transported heavily armored and fortified barges full of U.S. Marines to raise hell in the jungle. While everybody else picked their seats… for the movie.  

The one I was on actually carried a couple of landing craft of the original type. Although I can hardly imagine they were original, since they were mostly in one piece. 

I drove one a time or two. Think of the landing craft as a big plywood shoebox with a flat, oversized steel ramp flipped up in front. And an elevated wheelhouse shielded by steel plate in the rear. With a sign that says “Aim Here.”  

Landing craft were underpowered and hard to maneuver. And they had no guns and no armor. Other than the front ramp and aforementioned wheelhouse. 

You Understand the Sacrifice 

When I returned from Vietnam, I thought about those guys on Omaha Beach. Not the ones who were cut to pieces while they were still in the boats. Or the ones who were blown to smithereens on the beach that day.

Or about those who drowned before they even got there. But rather the ones who made it back home after it was all over. I also thought about why I decided to go to Vietnam. There were many other avenues of escape open to me that I declined.

Well, I am pretty sure I went for the same reason those guys climbed down those cargo nets into those boats on D-Day. It was what people who wanted to be able to hold their heads up high were supposed to do. 

Today, many of our brave young men and women are doing the exact same thing in various places around the globe.

Some Americans today don’t have the slightest clue what kind of sacrifice was made for them on D-Day. Or what kind of sacrifices today’s soldiers are making on their behalf.

But fortunately, many do. I know you do. Thank you for being a vital part of the 4Patriots family. 


  • Mike G - June 07, 2023

    I salute all who served, especially those of the “Greatest Generation” for stopping the advances of the Axis on the world. I love our country and like the men of my family who fought in WW1 and WW2 wanted to serve during the Vietnam war. I joined the United States Navy at 17 on a delayed enlistment program in 1970. In June of ‘71 I was in the induction center at age 18 and it looked good at first but after a few test was sent to a specialist and told that I was in need of medical attention. I had severe asthma and hypertension but I told the doctors that I’ve managed so far, I’ll manage this too. I spent 3 weeks as an outpatient at the Bethesda Naval Hospital and was denied entry into the Navy. I told them fine, I’ll join the Army. They told me my condition was too severe that the Army wouldn’t take me. "How ironic, I said: “you have all these guys running off to Canada and burning draft cards and protesting everything about this war and here I am trying to do my part and I’m denied”! They explained what a danger I would be to the men I would serve with and that settled it. Years later, I told my Dad how sorry I was that I didn’t get to serve. He responded that he was happy that I actaully didn’t. This from a man that served during Korea, with a brother, my uncle that serevd in the South Pacific and a Father, my Grandfather who fought in the " Battle Of The Arggonne Forest" in WWI. But nothing impressed me more than the brave men that served this country when called and battled that fateful day 76 years ago in the D-Day invasion that eventually brought the Reich to it’s knees and won the conflict that inflicted so much pain on so many.

  • Karen Rodgers-Poellniyz - June 07, 2023

    My father Robert J Rodgers also piloted an assault craft in the South Pacific. He was Quartet Master 3rd Class Amphibious Forces. His parents had to sign for him to go in the Navy…following his 2 older brothers, Leo and Don Rodgers. He was the oldest member at the VFW in Camas/Wahougal in the state of Washington. Dad passed March 17th 4 days from his 96th birthday. He was VERY proud of his service…and would do it all again. He also went to Viet Nam as a civilian tug boat operator hauling ammunition down or up river to ports for the troops. RIP dad, you served us well…God Bless our military!

  • Jo Ann Hart - June 06, 2023

    Hallelujah, Praise the Lord. Thank you for your service! I loved the article. I also love your products and what you stand for. Keep on keeping on! Jo Ann

  • Joianne Pettigrove - June 06, 2023

    My Grandfather adopted and raised me for my first 9 years. Gramps was too young for WWI and too old for WWII. It was a fact that really bothered him. He wanted to serve. He saw my Mother lose her fiancé in the early part of WWII. His grandchildren all heard about loyalty to country. They listened. One brother was a Marine and served two stints in Nam. Shortly before I was to be married I received a letter asking me to forgive him because he had signed up to sere longer in Nam not because he was enjoying himself but because he was single and if staying longer might keep a man with a wife and kids stateside he would stay. He was to walk me down the aisle with my grandfather. I was disappointed but I was proud of my brother. Another brother made the Navy his career. Three of his sons have served. My sister went through basics in the Army but was discharged due to health before serving. She came home and was active in the VFW, organized a group that sent slippers to soldiers in Afghanistan, knit lap robes for the VA hospital, knit layettes for an orphanage for children who had lost their parents serving our country. We were raised to serve in one way or another.

  • Michael Smith - June 06, 2023

    Thanks Frank for your service to me and this country. My Dad was in the Navy during the Korean conflict but never saw battle. I never served. My 19th year was 1973 and birthday was drawn in the 20’s for the lottery draft I was in college and was about to join the Navy myself when Pres. Nixon stopped the draft. I continued school but later I had 2 brothers who joined the Army, and later regretted my lack of service. Thanks again to all who serve.

  • Mike C Sheldon - June 06, 2023

    The tag line on your email snagged my attention. Do I know/understand sacrifice. Everyone sacrafices something along the way, my opinion. At 17 I was trained in combat, summer of ‘67 and was sent to Virginia to huey school and then on to cobra school. By. July ’68 I was sent to Nam, boots on the ground and ass in the air, my first taste was a 122 rocket attack at night. It didn’t get much better the rest of the year but I managed to not get dead but wounded during another rocket attack in Dak To with 20 some days left to serve in country.
    My dad was Naval aviation for 25 years, gone most all the time, mom had a real tough time raising the five of us with precious little money. To this day I believe firmly the toughest job is that of a military wife.
    Some of us do fully understand sacrifice, but at the drop of a hat I’d certainly do it all again.

  • Jan - June 06, 2023

    Thank you for your wonderful article on D-Day! A reminder we all need about the sacrifice our military members made for our freedom. Thank you also for the first-hand information on the war in Vietnam. So much sacrifice for our Great Country! Thank you to all of our servicemen and women who serve selflessly for the USA. God bless you all !

  • Donald Saylor - June 06, 2023

    A Day to remember. And you are right, so many have not the slightest clue what it took to make this Country what it is.
    First, I just want to thank you for all you folks do for Veterans. I also thank you for your Service.
    Frank, as I was reading your post I wondered if maybe we were in Vietnam at the same time. Maybe! I spent the year 1967 on the rivers and canals of the Mekong Delta on one of those little Mike boats you were talking about. Of course it was re-converted a bit with considerable fire power and bar armor and such. I served with the Mobile Riverine Force 1967 on Monitor 92-1. Just thought it was interesting we may have been there at the same time!
    Welcome Home Brother

    Don S

  • Dan - June 06, 2023

    My Dad was at Anzio, which was the “other” D-Day assault, just not as publicized. The storys were the same except Anzio was close to being a disaster. If not for the naval barrage, 24/7 for days, it would have been a total defeat.

  • Mary kollman - June 06, 2023

    Thank you for your service.
    When you were in Vietnam, my husband was I Korea and on the DMZ.
    After 22 years in service And retired, Agent Orange took his life.
    People don’t realize people that get Agent Orange, from Vietnam and Korea, still have the affects of combat for years after they come home.
    My family and I appreciate your service.

  • Mrs. Fiona Bowling - June 06, 2023

    It is with great honor to give a sincere and grateful thank you to all who served in WW11. My mother served in the OSS. We will never forget the sacrifice they made. May those that died on that fateful, June 6, 1944, D-Day, Rest In Peace and May the comfort of our Lord surround their families. Although Vietnam was never declared a war, but called a conflict, We offer our sincere gratitude to you, Frank, and all those who served in the Vietnam conflict. Unimaginable horrors you were faced with. Sadly you were not greeted with gratitude and a thank you upon your return. I think that has since been rectified. Today, As our beloved America moves further away from the Judeo-Christian values and principles formed by our Founding Fathers, we the people need to stand up now, with strength and fight to keep America from falling into a third world country. Although there are many Americans still serving in the military, we the people have lost our strength and patriotism has faded. .The men and women who fought so valiantly in WW11 and Vietnam give us a legacy of American Patriotism and a command that America is the greatest country in the world and worth the effort to fight to keep her so. Thank you. May God be with each and everyone of you as we remember June 6, 1944. God Bless and Save America, land that I love.

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