On the Porch

The 75th anniversary of D-Day is coming up Thursday. According to the United States Army website, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, to fight Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944. General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” General Eisenhower was the supreme commander of the Allied forces for the D-Day invasion, the operation code-named Overlord. D-Day stands for “day.” The term D-Day can identify the start of any military operation. The next day is D+1, then D+2 and so on. On D-Day, June 6, thousands of paratroopers dropped into enemy-held territory in France just after midnight. As aircraft continued bombing targets, naval ships started firing just before 6 a.m., and troops started coming ashore on foot soon after.

More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in Continental Europe. The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded. Estimates of German casualties total at least 4,000. The fighting in Normandy continued for about three months as Allied forces pushed the German military eastward and liberated Paris. The operation began the liberation of German-occupied France (and later Europe) from Nazi control, and laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front.

The photograph featured this week is First Lt. George H. “Sonny” Ehrreich of Marshall, who was killed in action on June 7, 1944. Sonny is one of 67 men we know from Lyon County who were killed in World War II. The photograph is courtesy of his sister Mary Lou Peterson of Marshall. Mary Lou and her family have graciously shared information about Sonny along with photographs of him. Starting on Monday, a display will be up at the Lyon County Museum for the month of June to commemorate the anniversary of D-Day and feature information and photographs of Sonny. Next week’s On the Porch column will include information on Sonny’s life and his military service before his tragic death in 1944.

The Lyon County Historical Society is a nonprofit, member-supported organization. For more information on membership, research, volunteering, or the museum’s collection, please contact us at 537-6580 or director@lyoncomuseum.org. Like our page and follow us on Facebook.