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NEWS | May 30, 2024

Army Reserve senior leader honors ‘Greatest Generation’ on Memorial Day

By Staff Sgt. Shawn Morris 99th Readiness Division

As one Army Reserve senior leader honored fallen service members during the Memorial Day event held here May 27 at Veterans’ Monument, he highlighted the sacrifices made by America’s “Greatest Generation” at one of the pivotal moments of World War II.

“Next month, we begin a commemoration of the 80th anniversary of D-Day,” said Brig. Gen. Daniel Hershkowitz, deputy commanding general of the Army Reserve’s 99th Readiness Division. “As we look ahead to this milestone, we are again reminded of the true cost of war.

“On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy,” Hershkowitz explained. “More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion.

“As troops began heading toward the French Coast on that historic day, General Dwight D. Eisenhower pledged that, ‘We will accept nothing less than full victory,’” he continued. “By day’s end, the Allies had gained a foothold in Continental Europe.”

But, as Hershkowitz emphasized during his remarks, the cost in lives on D-Day was high.

“More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded – a high price they were willing to pay to defeat the enemy and secure freedom across the globe,” he said. “

Hershkowitz also noted that 12 Soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor for their heroic deeds during the Normandy Invasion, which lasted from June 6 to July 24.

“The Soldiers on the Normandy beaches embodied our Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage,” he said. “Their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 Soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe to defeat Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.”

Among those Soldiers making their way across Europe were those serving in the 99th Infantry Division, which played a key role in the Battle of the Bulge and, in 1992, was recognized as a Liberating Unit by the U.S. Army’s Center of Military History and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for liberating Dachau subcamps near the town of Muhldorf in May 1945.

“When Eisenhower gave the go-ahead for Operation Overlord, he said, ‘The eyes of the world are upon you – the hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you,’” Hershkowitz said. “Today, our eyes are upon all those who have given their lives in our defense as we remember the sacrifices America’s children, siblings, parents, grandparents and great-grandparents made for this country, and the freedom we enjoy today because of them.”