D-DAY Many took part in historic action

Today marks the 80th anniversary of World War II’s D-Day invasion. According to the National D-Day Memorial, which is located in Bedford,Va.,: “While the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, usually termed D-Day, did not end the war in Europe — that would take 11 more months — success on that day created a path to victory for the Allies. The stakes were so great, the impact so monumental, that this single day stands out in history.”

Many in our region had a role in that mission. One man from Fredonia, Leslie “Bud” Morrison who died Oct. 14, 2023, was drafted in January 1943 at the age of 19 to serve his country. Morrison landed in Liverpool, England, around June and July of 1943 and proceeded to travel to Ireland and Scotland where his unit met up with other Allied Forces. Soon they were convoying down the coast of Great Britain on the White Cliffs of Dover, on their way to the beaches of Normandy. He landed on Omaha Beach. After the soldiers broke through following D-Day, his military career took him next to Belgium then finally to the Rhineland, Germany.

Morrison, like so many others who served during World War II, was a hero and lived to tell about it.

Others were not as lucky. Some, from Warren County, Pa., died in connection with the maneuver. They include: Pfc. Willard E. Dunn, 24, 16th Infantry, died June 6, 1944 in France, buried at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial; Pfc. Joe B. Gurdak, 29, 101st Airborne Division, killed in action on June 8, 1944 in Normandy, buried at Saint Joseph Cemetery; Pvt. Clayton D. Hahn, 22-23, 20th Engineer Combat Battalion, killed in action on June 8, 1944 in Normandy, Buried at the Normandy American Cemetery.

On this significant day, remember all those who were part of the effort. Allied Forces suffered nearly 10,000 casualties; some 4,400 were dead.

During this day, the National D-Day Memorial will commemorate the historic liberation that changed the course of the war — and the world.


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