On this day, June 6, in the year 1944 allied forces invaded Normandy - the most massive invasion attempt in history. By nightfall, they had liberated 80 miles of French soil and a toehold for the consequential drive into Germany was established. Although the invasion was a success, it was not without supreme sacrifice. Over 10,000 casualties were suffered on this historic day.
Now, 40 years later, we are commemorating this historic turning point with the planting of a tree at Fort Richie. It is a fitting place as many of the members of the 29th Infantry Division trained here before the division was activated and sent to Europe where they were among the first to land at Normandy.
The tree selected for today's ceremony is fitting because of its strength and independence. The soil used contains amounts of soil from the beaches and cliffs of Normandy. This further symbolizes the fact that the success of the invasion was a joining of the Armed Forces of two great continents.
With this tree as a memorial, the sacrifices made forty years ago will be long remembered. It will be a tangible symbol of our heritage.