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Governor Scott on the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion

June 6, 2019

"Seventy-five years ago today, the world had been at war for six years. Democracies had fallen, free nations were occupied by enemy armies, and the conflict was spreading in nearly every direction.

As morning broke, American, British and Canadian troops prepared for the largest invasion the world had ever seen.

By days end, the Atlantic Alliance had pushed the Nazi army inland, and secured the small piece of land from which the allies would mount a western offensive.

Within two months of the invasion, the Allies would reclaim Paris in the name of a Free France. In less than a year, Berlin would fall, and the war would be over.

Albert Sponheimer, of East Rygate, was there that day, and was awarded the Silver Star for his heroic work as a medic…. He saved countless lives while exposing himself to heavy enemy fire on the shores of Omaha Beach.

Kimbal Richmand, of Windsor, was there too. He swam to shore under a hail of machine gun bullets and artillery fire… after his transport boat was struck and sunk.

Jack Hennessey from Rutland captained one of those landing crafts, carrying troops and supplies to shore, and brining his fallen and injured brothers back to their ships.

My dad landed at Normandy with Patton’s Third Army, and was injured at St. Lo, a small town that had been occupied by the Nazis for nearly 4 years. It was liberated just weeks after the invasion.

These are just a few of the Vermonters whose bravery helped turn the tides of World War II.

Their fallen brothers are memorialized just off the coast of northern France, in the small town of Colleville-sur-Mer.

There, in a green field on the edge of town, are perfect rows of white gravestones marking the final resting place of nearly 10,000 Americans who gave their lives on, and after, the D-Day Invasion.

Harold Provost of Winooski is buried there. So is George Burnes of Ludlow and William Moulton of Burlington, along with 23 other Vermonters who never made it home. 

Today we honor the men who took the beaches that day, and the hundreds of thousands who followed them into battle.

Today, we remember when free people stood to fight oppression, when free nations stood together to preserve liberty, and secure peace in Europe that remains today.

Let us never forget what happed that day. When ordinary men walked off their ships and headed towards the shore. They walked into war under machine gun fire to scale the cliffs of Normandy and forever change the course of human history.

Thank you."

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