June 6 marks the 75th anniversary of when the Allied Forces stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. As leaders and veterans gather to remember at a ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, where some 9,300 men are buried, Archbishop Broglio reminds the faithful to give thanks for those who sacrificed their lives on that day and to pray for peace.
Examples of the valor and self-sacrifice that are commemorated on this anniversary are visible in the stories of three heroic chaplains. Father Francis Sampson, who served in the 501st parachute regiment, joined soldiers who jumped behind enemy lines on D-Day in order to tend to the wounded and dying. Doing the same among the soldiers who landed on Omaha Beach was Father Joseph Lacy with the 5th Ranger Battalion. The third chaplain to exemplify such extraordinary courage that day is Father Ignatius Maternowski, a Franciscan priest who parachuted in with the 82nd Airborne Division. Father Maternowski was the only U.S. military chaplain to be killed in action that day.
As we mark this anniversary, let us take Archbishop Broglio’s words to heart. He has stated, “We ask God that their sacrifice not be in vain. We beg Him to transform our power to turn war into a force for peace, to transform our weapons into plowshares, to give us the ability to negotiate, to talk, and to listen.”