WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, Senator Maggie Hassan wrote an op-ed that ran in the Eagle Tribune this week to commemorate the brave veterans that she met during a bipartisan Senate delegation to Normandy, France for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion by Allied forces during World War II. In the op-ed, Senator Hassan shares highlights of the commemorations, and reaffirms her commitment to honoring the memory of “the greatest generation.”
Click here or see below for Senator Hassan’s full op-ed in the Eagle Tribune:
When Vincent Speranza was a 19-year-old paratrooper serving the United States of America during World War II, he found an enemy map showing the world divided into German, Italian and Japanese territories.
Imagine being a teenager in that moment and clearly seeing the grave consequences of what would happen if the war was lost.
I met Vincent earlier this month when I joined a bipartisan U.S. Senate delegation commemorating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landing at Normandy.
As we look back all these years later, stories like Vincent’s are a powerful reminder of just how much was at stake during those fateful days. They also remind us of the incredible debt of gratitude that we owe to the veterans who saved the world from Hitler – as well as all those who served before and since – and how much our country can achieve when we are united by a common purpose.
It was the honor of a lifetime to be able to attend the D-Day anniversary commemorations and express my gratitude to these veterans on behalf of New Hampshire and our country. And as the daughter of a World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, it was humbling to meet men who fought in the same battles as my father.
There are few more powerful reminders of the loss of war – as well as the bravery and sacrifice of our armed forces – than the beaches of Normandy. I looked out at a peaceful and beautiful Omaha Beach – the same beach where decades ago, horror and chaos played out and American troops suffered staggering casualties.
There was a special moment during the ceremony when French President Emmanuel Macron turned from the podium to face the American veterans, and, changing from French to English, he thanked them for liberating France.
He then proceeded to present some of these veterans with the French Legion of Honor Medal – France’s highest honor.
President Trump also made moving remarks, at one point thanking the French people for taking such loving care of the cemeteries where the brave souls who we lost on D-Day are buried.
And he summed up the sentiment of so many of us when he told the veterans, “Your example will never, ever grow old."
The actions of the heroes on that day indeed set an example for the generations of military men and women who have followed in their footsteps in service to our country. We owe all of those heroes a debt of gratitude that we can never repay, but we must always strive to ensure that our country is ever-worthy of their sacrifice.
So, how do we do that?
Perhaps we can start by remembering that as important as all the military planning and performance on D-Day was, and as outstanding and breathtaking as the bravery of our fighters was, a key element in our victory on that day and ultimately in World War II was our country’s common purpose.
Regardless of their disagreements about everything from military strategy, to domestic politics, and everything in between, my dad and all of those who fought in World War II won the war because they believed in freedom. And they believed in each other because of that shared value.
We must all continue to honor the legacy and memory of those who are rightly called “the greatest generation” by looking for and nurturing the common aspirations and values that define us as Americans.
In doing so, we can work together toward our common vision: a better future, rooted in freedom, for generations to come.