4 Ways to Honor Our D-Day Heroes

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75 years ago today, on June 6, 1944, Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, in the largest sea-to-shore invasion in history. It was the greatest amphibious assault invasion in human history and the start of the campaign to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe.  

  • 150,000 American, British and Canadian troops came ashore on D-Day

  • 5,300 Allied ships participated on D-Day

  • 2,499 dead, 3,184 wounded, 1,928 missing, 26 captured (U.S. casualties on D:Day)

The freedoms we enjoy are a result of the world these soldiers saved for us. It’s our duty to remember their service and sacrifices made 75 years ago. 

Here are 4 ways ways you can honor our D-Day heroes

1 - VISIT the National WWII Museum

One of the best museums in the nation you don’t know about, yet! When you think of New Orleans, you probably think Mardi Gras or the Saints, but it’s also the home of the World War II National Museum

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Their mission: The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world—why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today—so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn. 

The National World War II Museum is a reason alone to visit New Orleans, and a must stop if you are there. Besides the exhibits and collections, they offer field trips, webinars, educational travel programs and more. All to honor the generation that sacrificed so much to secure the freedoms we enjoy today. Visit online, visit in person. Visit often.

The National WWII Museum was named the number two museum in the world by travelers according TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards in 2017. For a list of other WWWII museums around the world, check-out Tripoli’s “19 of the World’s Best World War II Museums and Historical Sites.”

2-  READ a book about D-Day - from a veteran that was there

Everyman’s a Hero by Ray Lambart is an astonishing new firsthand account of D-Day, what he called “Do or Die Day.

Seventy-five years ago, he hit Omaha Beach with the first wave. Now Ray Lambert, ninety-eight years old, delivers one of the most remarkable memoirs of our time, a tour-de-force of remembrance evoking his role as a decorated World War II medic who risked his life to save the heroes of D-Day.

3- WATCH a WWII film

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Saving Private Ryan

Steven Spielberg's harrowing depiction of D-Day’s Omaha Beach invasion in "Saving Private Ryan" is perhaps one of the most striking and realistic depictions of warfare ever put to screen. The story follows a group of American soldiers led by Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) ordered to find a lone paratrooper (Matt Damon) who's three brothers were killed in action, warranting him a ticket home. From the opening beach landing to the grueling final battle, this film will leave you amazed, terrified, heartbroken, and most-importantly — grateful.

Available on HBO and Amazon Prime.

“The War: A Film By Ken Burns and Lynn Novick,” Episode 4, "Pride of our Nation"

Naturally, Ken Burns’s take on World War II is one of the most tender and well-researched. The War: A Film By Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, Episode 4, “Pride of our Nation” looks at the lives of soldiers fro.m one small town as they prep to do battle in Normandy. Constructed from interviews, letters, photos, and footage from the day, this miniseries is as authentic as it gets. Available on Netflix.

4- DISCOVER the military heroes in your family

Did one of your family ancestors fight in World War II? Research their military records and discover their inspiring life stories.

Military records contain family historical information not found anywhere else. For tips on how to locate and research military records, see my blog post “Finding Your Military Ancestors.” 

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Freedom is not free, but right now you can explore 250 million military records for FREE on Ancestry.com and Newspapers.com from June 6 – June 9.

You also can explore WW II military records specifically related to D-Day at the National Archives.

Kimberlie Guerrieri is a certified genealogist with 15 years experience. She’s worked with many military veterans and believes in the motto “Never Forget.” The best way to honor our military heroes is to discover and share their stories.