Day of Days

Today marks 75th anniversary of D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe

“Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force: You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.”

— Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

D-Day.

June 6, 1944.

Roughly 2,500 men from the United States were killed on the beaches — Omaha and Utah — and over the skies of Nazi-occupied France.

Two of those men were from Warren County.

Two additional men were killed in the days that followed.

Last week, I visited the Tidioute Catholic Cemetery.

Up on a quiet ridge behind the St. John’s Rectory sits a small granite marker to Walter Obrhota, who was killed on the beaches of Normandy 75 years ago today.

It struck me as a peaceful place, one worthy to serve as the final resting place for a man who gave his life for generations of Americans — like me — that he had never met and would never meet.

The lives of the men from Warren County killed on or around D-Day — Obrohta, Willard Dunn, Joe Gurdak and William Pequignot — have largely faded to the background of history.

I aim to change that today in some small way.

In addition to the story on the front page, the entirety of a D-Day section in today’s Times Observer is aimed at helping us remember.

It’s our hope that these stories are a worthy memorial to these men.