This month marks the 74th anniversary of the Allied Liberation of Europe otherwise known as D-Day. The invasion, which started on June 6, 1944, marked the beginning of the end of the war in Europe. Many men made the ultimate sacrifice for the free world. And although most of those who served that day have names that the general public does not know, there were some very famous people who fought there as well. Here are a just a few and the roles they played in liberating Europe.
- Sir Alec Guinness: Long before he became known as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars universe, this legendary actor transported British troops in a landing craft onto the beaches of Normandy. A little more than a decade later Guinness would go on to star in the WWII classic “Bridge Over the River Kwai” (1957) as a British POW.
- James Doohan: Star Trek’s “Mr. Scott” distinguished himself as one of several Canadian officers who lead his men up the hill on Juno Beach. Doohan was struck six times by machinegun bullets. (One of these bullets severed his right middle finger which he often concealed from viewers of the iconic show in which he would later star.) Doohan also trained with the Royal Canadian Air Force and learned to fly an artillery observation plane.
- Yogi Berra: Famous baseball catcher Yogi Berra manned a Naval support craft and helped to storm Normandy. His craft bombarded enemy positions on Omaha Beach.
- Medgar Evers: This civil rights pioneer served in the segregated 325th Port Company during WWII. His unit delivered much needed supplies during the Normandy Invasion.
- John Ford: This iconic film director is known for having directed some of the most famous Westerns of all time. Ford went ashore on D-Day as a commander in the US Naval reserve. His team actually filmed the invasion which was eventually viewed by the public.
- Henry Fonda: Head of an acting dynasty, Fonda served as a quartermaster on the destroyer USS Satterlee during the Allied landing at Normandy Beach. His ship provided support for the liberating troops. Years later he would star in several movies based on the war including “The Longest Day.”
Yes, the sacrifices that these brave men and others who help restore democracy in Europe will not be forgotten. Pride in the Corps can also be displayed with one of our USMC novelties and USMC home décor items all year round.