WASHINGTON — Dozens of volunteers traveled to D.C.’s National World War II Memorial on Tuesday to spruce up and beautify the monument, honoring veterans and showing their appreciation on the 73rd anniversary of D-Day.
“It’s a huge day of honor and remembrance,” said Bill Rausch, executive director of the veteran advocacy group Got Your 6. “D-Day was truly the turning part of the war.”
On June 6, 1944, allied forces landed on beaches in Normandy, France, establishing a foothold in Europe and beginning the campaign to defeat Adolf Hitler’s troops and bring down Nazi Germany.
It was the largest amphibious military assault in world history, including 160,000 American, British and Canadian troops. More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the invasion.
Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a battle in which, “we will accept nothing less than full victory.”
More than 9,000 allied soldiers were killed or wounded.
“We’re certainly standing on the shoulders of those who came before us,” said Rausch, an Iraq War veteran.
More than 100 veteran and civilian volunteers went to the memorial to help with the project, cleaning, painting benches and chains, picking up leaves and spreading mulch.
“It’s all about honoring the service of D-Day veterans, but also strengthening our community of Washington, D.C. through service and support,” Rausch said.
Rausch used a megaphone to give instructions to the volunteers, including multiple veteran-related advocacy groups.
Also speaking on the megaphone was Rep. Mark Takano, D-Ca., who sits on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
He said during World War II, the United States was “completely mobilized as a nation.”
“All sectors of our society and economy were unified behind an effort,” Takano added.
The congressman praised groups such as Got Your 6 for facilitating a connection between veterans who have served the country and other members of the community.