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Lessons from D-Day
Normandy invasion draws comparisons to war in Ukraine
Kansas native Colonel Ollie W. Reed and his son Lieutenant Ollie W. Reed Jr. were buried together in the Normandy American Cemetery.

On June 6, the 79th anniversary of D-Day, U.S. Senator Jerry Moran visited the 1st Infantry Division Memorial and the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. Sen. Moran was joined by U.S. Army Major General John Meyer, the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley commanding general.

Sen. Moran paid tribute to Kansas native Colonel Ollie W. Reed and his son Lieutenant Ollie W. Reed Jr. who were buried together in the Normandy American Cemetery.

According to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, the D-Day operation brought together the land, air, and sea forces of the Allied armies in what became known as the largest amphibious invasion in military history. “Fighting by the brave soldiers, sailors, and airmen of the allied forces western front, and Russian forces on the eastern front, led to the defeat of German Nazi forces. On May 7, 1945, German General Alfred Jodl signed an unconditional surrender at Reims, France.”

This year, the tribute to soldiers who died in Normandy is reminding veterans and civilians of another war taking place on foreign soil and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And we are being warned of a domino effect with the slogan “Ukraine today, Taiwan tomorrow.” If one authoritarian country (Russia) can invade its neighbor in Europe, will it embolden another (China) to do the same in East Asia? 

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff and President Biden’s top military adviser, also visited Normandy on June 6. In a recent interview with NPR, Milley said he believes we should “make sure we modernize our military so that we remain dominant, and by doing that (we) will deter any sort of potential aggression by any future great power that might threaten the United States and our interests.”

We know how to wage war. Waging peace appears to be far more difficult. In the words of President Jimmy Carter, “We can choose to alleviate suffering. We can choose to work together for peace. We can make these changes – and we must.”