03-19 bill patrick

Herald-Press Journalist William Patrick

Freedom isn't free. On June 6, 1944, the bill was paid for posterity – with countless gallons of blood.

Every free breath we draw today owes its life, in some way, to the nearly 10,000 allied lives lost on D-Day.

For most of us, a beach is redolent with happy memories. For 160,000 American, British, Canadian, and French troops, the memories of the beaches of Normandy are of blood-soaked sand and friends lost.

World War II veterans – now mostly dead – wore the moniker of the “Greatest Generation.” They were nurtured by the Great Depression and tested, at home and abroad, by a great war.

At Normandy, hungry soldiers grabbed their rifles and charged a now historic beachhead, facing machine guns, land mines, and concertina wire.

The weather was bad, the outlook bleak. With hearts beating through their chests, every soldier knew their remains would probably wash out to sea.

Yet, these nameless heroes forged ahead, laying the groundwork for Europe's liberation from occupying Nazi forces, and the end of World War II.

Seventy-five years later, their blood continues to pay the price of our freedom.