Today, so far removed from June 6, 1944, it is hard for many of us to grasp the true significance of D-Day.
Sunday marks the 60th anniversary of that world-altering event when the Allies sent 163,000 men into France to face the Nazi troops controlling Europe.
According to the PBS documentary series, "American Experience," the 150,000-man force was the first to cross the English Channel in more than 250 years. The balance were paratroopers flown, mostly by gliders, behind enemy lines.
By nightfall June 6, 1944, more than 9,000 Allied soldiers were dead or wounded. But more than 100,000 had made it ashore at Omaha, Utah and other beaches on the Normandy coast and began securing French coastal villages.
According to another report, those that died were buried where they had fallen in the 10 weeks of fighting or thrown together in the mass graves. In the years after the departure of the armies, the remains were disinterred and brought together into more fitting places. The bodies of the 9,000 American dead not repatriated were buried together under a forest of white cruciform headstones at Saint-Laurent above Omaha Beach.
This memorial is where many of this weekend's services will be focused, including a visit from President Bush.
These special observances cause us to reflect and give thanks to the generation of men and women who became our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. But their sacrifices were so monumental they should be in our thoughts more often than the few patriotic holidays.
This weekend, remember the heroes of D-Day and all of our soldiers, and remember them each time your eyes fall upon our flag.
Remember them and be thankful.