Yesterday was the 80th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy, France. The world’s largest amphibious invasion in history saw upwards of 156,000 Allied troops landing on the beaches of Normandy in order to pave the way into Nazi-occupied France to secure victory over tyranny. Eighty is a notable year, marking the fullness of freedom, and the international ceremony was filled with notable moments, particularly in the women who were honored.

While women were not drafted to fight on the front lines, many volunteered their service at the front, on the homefront, and behind the scenes. From radio operators to journalists and map makers, battlefield nurses, secret agents, and shipbuilders, the number of women involved in the Great War is often understated and underappreciated. On this 80th anniversary, they received significant recognition from the beginning, with the opening invocation given by female Chaplain Karen Meeker

Let us bow our heads in humble reverence and solemn remembrance. Let us pray. 


God, when you needed someone to defend freedom, you made a soldier.


When you needed someone to fight tyranny, you created a Marine.


When you needed someone to protect the skies, you made an airman.


When you needed someone to guard the seas, you made the sailor. And to patrol the shores, the Coast Guard. When you needed to send someone brave and true, it has always been and always will be the men and women of the armed forces. When the world needed heroes, you called the Greatest Generation to courage, and their answer still echoes in the soul of the nation. Shine your eternal light upon those whose gravestones encircle us as silent sentinels, reminding us of the price of liberty. Comfort with your abiding presence those who mourn empty tables and empty chairs of those who gave their best hopes for our brighter tomorrows. Be our witness, O God, as we stand on this hallowed ground, consecrated in blood, that we will be devoted to the preservation of peace with the same determination as these here who fought fourscore years ago. As storm clouds gather on the horizon once again, rise up, O God, the next greatest generation to meet every challenge with an unbreakable resolve to do what is right and good in your sight. Not counting the cost, but weighing the unfinished work of freedom. A vision where all people can pursue the life to which you have created them. May it be so, I pray, in your Holy name. Amen and Amen. 

One of the many Legion of Honor recipients was Christian Lamb (103 years old), a British veteran who created the detailed maps that were used to guide the landing crafts on D-Day. The American women known as “Rosie the Riveters” were also honored, including 100-year-old Marjorie Stone, 98-year-old Anna Marie Krier, and 99-year-old Connie Palacioz:

Women defense workers also received little notice or appreciation at first. Krier was among ex-“Rosies” who pushed successfully for their contribution to be recognized with a Congressional Gold Medal.


“That made me so proud,” she said. “And I’m just so proud of our young women. We opened doors for the young women today. But look what you women are doing. We’re just so happy to see what you’re doing with your lives. I think that’s great.

It indeed is great, because these women helped to forge a path of not only freedom but opportunity for future generations—especially generations of women. As Chaplain Meeker said in her invocation prayer, “Not counting the cost, but weighing the unfinished work of freedom. A vision where all people can pursue the life to which you have created them.”