A color guard makes it way to the midpoint of Center Bridge in Farmington, Thursday June 6 to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. Pictured from left are Clyde Penney, Glenn Durrell, Lloyd Leeman and Rodney Titcomb. Livermore Falls Advertiser photo by Pam Harnden

FARMINGTON — A group of veterans, family members and others marched to the middle of Center Bridge to pay homage to the 75th Anniversary of D–Day at noon Thursday, June 6.

Led by a color guard from the James A. McKechnie Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10881, Commander Gordon Webber said to those assembled, “Today is a special day. It is so close to Memorial Day that it often slides by.”

He then read General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Order of the Day which soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Forces received prior to the attack launch.

“You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty–loving people everywhere march with you.

“Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy…will fight savagely.

Gordon Webber, VFW, read General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Order of the Day at a ceremony Thursday, June 6 in Farmington recognizing the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. Behind him from left are World War II veterans Cleon Fletcher and Francis Paling. Livermore Falls Advertiser photo by Pam Harnden

“But this is 1944…The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!,” Webber read.

Legionnaire Peter Tracy shared D–Day statistics from the June 2019 edition of The American Legion magazine.

“Over 156,000 troops from the United States, Canada, France Norway and other Allied nations.

“Five beaches along the 50–mile stretch of the Normandy coast were targeted for landing with the Allied code names of Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. Omaha was the largest and the costliest; Americans suffered some 2,400 casualties.

“6,000 ships and landing craft. 50,000 vehicles. 11,000 planes.

“12,004 total killed, wounded, missing or captured (United States 8,239, United Kingdom 2,700, Canada 1,074.

“326,000 Allied troops who crossed by June 11, with more than 100,000 tons of military equipment. (That’s one–third the population of Maine)

“496,777 U.S. World War II veterans still living in 2018. Thank you guys very much,” he said.

Jan Volodkevick at left speaks during a D-Day ceremony in Farmington on June 6 with her sister, Pamela Gee, standing at her right. They are daughters of the late John Gee who spent two weeks in a foxhole on Utah Beach in Normandy 75 years ago during World War II. Livermore Falls Advertiser photo by Pam Harnden

Jan Volodkevick spoke of her 2011 visit to the Normandy beaches while her sister Pamela Gee stood beside her. They are the children of the late John Gee of Chesterville. He was a Navy Seal from UDT 18 (underwater demolition team) and spent two weeks in a foxhole on Utah beach.

Kitty Gee, John’s widow, helped organize the first D–Day observance in Farmington last year. She was also involved and in attendance this year.

World War II veterans Cleon Fletcher and Francis Paling jointly launched a wreath over Center Bridge in to the Sandy River.

Paul Harnden played Taps.

VFW Chaplain Clyde Penney gave a prayer but first said, “I’m proud to be here today. Without D–Day, we might all be speaking German rather than English today.”

 

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