Many people will know something about D-Day, a critical
moment in that most pivotal of wars: WWII. Here in New Orleans of all places,
we should remember a thing or two, considering the presence of our world-class
WWII Museum, not to mention the fact that a lot of the landing craft used in
the assault came from manufacturers right here in Louisiana.
It was 76 years ago this week when Allied forces stormed the
German machine gun nests on the beaches at Normandy, or northern France, on
their way to liberating Western Europe from the Nazi yoke. Operation Overlord,
to use the military's shorthand for the event, was the largest-scale amphibious
landing in history.
The moment has since become legendary in its stature in
American military memory. The American, British, and Canadian sacrifice is
considered unambiguously noble. Allied servicemen died in service of the cause
of freedom, resisting fascist tyranny.
While people today might be able to rattle off a few facts or
even have watched Saving Private Ryan,
they might not appreciate the bond that WWII cemented between the American and
French peoples. It had only been a few years prior when the Germans shocked the
world with a lightning-quick invasion, culminating in German Panzers rolling
down the Champs-Élysées. Then, the Allies came in themselves and liberated the
French from their erstwhile oppressors.
Now, almost eight decades later, France still commemorates
D-Day. Specifically, the French Consulate here in Louisiana will be holding a
memorial this Saturday, June 6, the actual anniversary of the beginning of the
battle for Normandy. It has become tradition at this point for the French
Consulate to do so.
Normally, they would hold it at New Orleans's WWII Museum. This
year, because of COVID-19, the Consul General of France in Louisiana, Vincent
Sciama, will deliver his remarks via video message. Sciama will demonstrate
"[France's] everlasting gratitude to U.S. troops," the Consulate said in a
press release yesterday.
The ceremony will be recorded live from the Chalmette
Cemetery, 8606 W. St. Bernard Hwy. in Chalmette, and will be available for