80th Anniversary of D-Day Invasion Honors Servicemembers at World War II Memorial

WASHINGTON, D.C .- June 6, 1944, 80 years ago, about 160,000 troops in the Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, battling Hitler’s formidable Atlantic defense. The D-Day invasion turned the tide in the second World War.  

To honor the sacrifice and service of those that fought on that day and in the second World War, veterans, family, service members and visitors took part in a ceremony at the WWII Memorial on the National Mall.  

“One of those young men was my 23-year-old father Franklin Elliott,” said Rhonda Elliott.  

Elliot was only two years-old at the time. She said her dad was part of the first wave to land on the beach. He was a tank gunner.  

“The go order was given, the ramp came down and the tank lurched forward,” said Elliott. “When waves were kind of pushing it closer to the beach when bam! They were hit by a German gun, a shell of a German gun that was concealed with one of Hitler’s concealed parts of the embarkments on the beach.”  

Elliott helped an injured crew member get to shore.  

“Smoke and noise and screams of the wounded were everywhere,” said Elliott. “I’m told that my father moved forward first. He tripped a mine that had been placed there by [inaudible] troops. The explosion instantly ended his life.” 

Hearing stories like Elliott’s honor their memory and become a reminder of what was at stake if the Nazi tyranny continued. On the anniversary of D-Day, the National Parks Service said they hope when people visit the WWII Memorial they will reflect on the stories from the service members. Speakers at the ceremony hope people will remember their commitment and duty to save Europe and the world from evil.  

“Understand that the America we know today and the blessings we enjoy as a free people were shaped by their deeds,” said Jeffrey Reinbold, NPS Superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks.