Veterans and civilians gathered at the Living Memorial Gardens on June 6 for a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the sacrifices made by those who served during the invasion of Normandy.
The Fort Mill Society of the Children of the American Revolution sponsored the event with help from the Tega Cay Veterans Association. TCVA Vice Commander Chuck Gross, who served in the Army from 1968 to 1971, said the ceremony was about remembering what was given up on D-Day for the safety and freedom of people around the world.
“I think it’s important to remember the sacrifices that were made by so many in order to preserve freedom, not only for Americans but around the world,” Gross said. “The Americans along with Allies successfully freed Europe from Nazi tyranny at a great cost. It’s important to remember the people who came before us and did so much for us.”
Todd Puhrmann, U.S. Army, LTC – Retired, gave a speech on the history and significance of D-Day. Puhrmann served from 1987 until 2012 and said that soldiers continue to fight for the same principles that soldiers fought for on D-Day.
“It was important back then for us to go over to Europe and stop tyranny in Europe rather than wait for it to come to our shores,” Puhrmann said. “It’s still important for us to do that.”
Richard Petersen, who is a founder and past commander of the TCVA and served in active duty in Marine Corp from 1954 to 1962 and from 1962 to 1972 in the Marine Corp Reserves, was in attendance. Petersen said he felt that the Living Memorial Gardens was a great location for the day’s event and appreciates having ceremonies and memorials like the one Friday to honor veterans.
“It provides a lot of remembrance and I think for newer generations that are coming along these places are very special,” Petersen said. “These monuments are growing throughout the county. Now we see monuments going up for Iraq and Afghanistan, which is a wonderful thing.”
Jacci Wagner of the local Daughters of the American Revolution played a role in planning the commemoration at the gardens. Wagner presented the TCVA with a box of mementos from World War II, including photographs from D-Day, found at Goodwill.
“It’s so important that we remember (D-Day) and pass it on from generation to generation, like this (box),” Puhrmann said. “Not to put it away in Goodwill and let somebody else worry about it, but to pull it out and get it displayed and make sure that we remember.”