Veterans

June 8, 2017
 

Tribute to the fallen: 73 years and counting

Senior Airman Devin Boyer
Picauville, France

French children release balloons into the air during a D-Day remembrance ceremony at the United States Army Air Forces Transport Memorial in Picauville, France, June 1, 2017. Each balloon has a placard tied to it with the name of a fallen service member who gave their life for the liberation of France. This event commemorates the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, the largest multinational amphibious landing and operational military airdrop in history, and highlights the U.S.’ steadfast commitment to European allies and partners. Overall, approximately 400 U.S. service members from units in Europe and the U.S. are participating in ceremonial D-Day 73 events from May 31-June 7, 2017.

The U.S. Air Force, Army, U.K. representatives, German military, and members of the French government gathered for a D-Day remembrance ceremony at the United States Army Air Forces Transport Memorial in Picauville, France, June 1.

Allied forces liberated Picauville 73 years ago following the D-Day landings at Normandy and established a temporary airfield just outside of the community.

“Picauville does not require a history lesson on the importance of liberty and the need to preserve it at all costs,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Jack Aalborg, Air Attaché to France. “This town lives with the reminder of it every single day. It is a link between our prosperity and our posterity. It is a privilege much like the wind. It may appear invisible to the naked eye, but it is an ever-present force.

Soldiers from the same units as the ones who stormed the beaches of Normandy had a chance to participate in the ceremony. Some even walked away feeling inspired.

A U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 37th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, flies over Coigny, France, during a D-Day remembrance ceremony, June 1, 2017. The 37th AS engaged in combat operations by dropping paratroopers into Normandy on D-Day 73 years ago.

“I had the opportunity to eat dinner with a family and one of the locals that served us, he was actually 10 years old when everything transpired and he gave us vivid details of things he remembered,” said U.S. Army Spec. Christopher Valentine, 29th Infantry Division generator mechanic, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. “That was a piece of history that I wouldn’t be able to receive otherwise, so that was very rewarding.”

To commemorate the ceremony, the 37th Airlift Squadron from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and the 815th Airlift Squadron from Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., flew four C-130s over Picauville.

“It was for all of us that the brave men and women we remember here today said no to tyranny 73 years ago,” Aalborg said. “They were not looking to fight, but they willingly answered the nation’s call, and in some cases gave their last full measure of devotion.”
 

Allan Dennebouy, a French teen, wears a military uniform to honor World War II service members during a D-Day remembrance ceremony at the United States Army Air Forces Transport Memorial in Picauville, France, June 1, 2017. Thousands of locals attend commemoration events leading up to June 6, the 73rd anniversary of the largest multinational amphibious landing and operational military airdrop in history.

 

U.S. Army Maj. Dwayne Milburn, U.S. Army Europe Band commander, conducts the National Anthem during a D-Day remembrance ceremony at the United States Army Air Forces Transport Memorial in Picauville, France, June 1, 2017.

 

The U.S. Army 173rd Brigade Combat Team from Vicenza, Italy, stands in formation during a D-Day remembrance ceremony at the United States Army Air Forces Transport Memorial in Picauville, France, June 1, 2017.

 

U.S. Air Force Col. Jack Aalborg, Air Attaché to France, gives a speech during a D-Day remembrance ceremony at the United States Army Air Forces Transport Memorial in Picauville, France, June 1, 2017. Colonel Aalborg spoke about the sacrifices Allied forces made 73 years ago to liberate Picauville.

 

Attendees wave to U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules aircraft assigned to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, as the aircraft pass over Picauville, France, during a D-Day remembrance ceremony at the United States Army Air Forces Transport Memorial June 1, 2017.

 

A placard tied to a balloon reads “Private Luther F. Morrison…Killed In Action,” as it floats into the sky during a D-Day remembrance ceremony at the United States Army Air Forces Transport Memorial in Picauville, France, June 1, 2017. French children released the balloons to honor the fallen of the Normandy D-Day landings 73 years ago.

 

Service members and French citizens gather for a D-Day remembrance ceremony at the United States Army Air Forces Transport Memorial in Picauville, France, June 1, 2017. The ceremony began with a speech honoring those who served in World War II and ended with a flyover that included four C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.




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