PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — State and local officials joined local veterans at the State House Thursday morning to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
The biggest-ever air and seaborne invasion involved more than 150,000 troops from the U.S., Britain, Canada and other Allied nations.
In the above video, Eyewitness News Analyst Lt. Gen. Reginald Centracchio (ret.) describes the importance of honoring D-Day.
“Seventy-five years ago, our brave men stepped off the boats and into the firestorm,” Director of Veterans Affairs Kasim Yarn said. “We can never forget their bravery and the horrors they went through to begin the liberation of Europe. We have an obligation to pass on their story to our younger generations, so they can appreciate the sacrifice the Greatest Generation made.”
Governor Gina Raimondo, Congressman David Cicilline and Captain Steven Kornatz of the U.S. Naval War College were also in attendance.
“The importance of these Second World War commemorations is vital because we still have some veterans of those battles with us to whom we can show gratitude,” Kornatz said in his opening remarks. “None of the battles we commemorate are more historically significant than Operation Neptune, more commonly known as the D-Day landings on Normandy that we are here today to acknowledge.”
A ceremonial “Tolling of the Bells” honored the 99 Rhode Islanders who lost their lives during the battle.
“On the 75th anniversary of the invasion of Europe, we pause to remember all of those who gave their lives in defense of their country, and from their willing sacrifice we draw a renewed sense of dedication for the continuous struggle to secure liberty and justice,” Raimondo said.
The ceremony reflected those being held worldwide to honor the veterans who are still alive and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron marked D-Day at the Normandy American Cemetery near Omaha Beach, where the Americans landed on June 6, 1944, marking the beginning of the end of Europe’s Nazi occupation.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. Jim Langevin attended the ceremony in France and were able to meet several World War II veterans.