By Pam Harnden, Staff Writer
FARMINGTON — A wreath service was held on Center Bridge at noon Wednesday to mark the 74th anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 1944.
Farmington police closed one lane of traffic as some three dozen veterans, relatives and community members made their way from the park-and-ride lot to the middle of the bridge.
Gordon Webber, commander of James A. McKechnie Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10881, thanked everyone for taking time out of their busy schedules.
Kitty Gee, widow of World War II veteran John Gee, said John was 19 years old when he landed on Utah Beach in the first wave of Allied forces invading German-occupied France.
“It was very dangerous for him,” she said. “Thousands died. It’s an honor to remember those brave souls. It’s the biggest thing in history.”
Gee said her husband twice went back to the beach. The second time, everything had changed.
VFW Chaplain Clyde Penney said 156,000 men and women from the United States, Britain, Canada and the Free France were involved in D-Day, the beginning of the liberation of France.
Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. said he was born 15 years after the invasion, which was code-named Operation Overlord. Allied troops landed on five Normandy beaches, Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, after a massive airborne assault the night before.
Nichols said it stands as the largest combined multinational military operation by land, sea and air in history.
“The Allied forces suffered many deaths that day,” Nichols said, adding that 2,419 Americans and 1,995 British and Canadians died that day.