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Maryland Army National Guard Soldiers in Normandy for D-Day Anniversary

D-Day Anniversary
Posted at 5:57 PM, Jun 05, 2024

BALTIMORE — The massive, allied invasion of France that opened the western front in Europe during World War II known as D-Day is marking 80 years.

The National Guard here in Maryland is in Normandy this week for D-Day celebrations.

When the U.S. and allied forces invaded Normandy, France on June 6th, 1944, during World War II it was the invasion known as D-Day. The largest air, land and sea invasion in military history.

"So I’m the commander of the 1st Battalion 175th Infantry and my unit is one of the units that landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day and that helped liberate this part of France," said LTC. Alexi Franklin with Maryland Army National Guard.

Now 80 years later, soldiers from the Maryland Army National Guard are over in Normandy to pay their respects. Lt. Commander Franklin said he and other soldiers are commemorating the actions of soldiers that were in his battalion 80 years ago.

"So the Maryland National Guard was one of the first units to land on D-Day. It was D-Day plus one there was still acting fighting still going on," said Franklin.

During their time there they'll move locations throughout the towns.

"We'll see people with the insignia patches and units. We'll go to places where the battles were fought and just bump into people that are interested. We also have the battalion flag with all the battle streamers and we're taking it to Omaha Beach and all the different sites," said Franklin.

Being in Normandy shows him the reality and importance of what happened there.

"Getting to experience the history and see people that were directly impacted by it is incredibly humbling. It really made it come alive for me in a good way and it's the kind of thing that I would like people to share and being able to experience that as well," said Franklin.

He said it's the celebrations and simply showing up that can carry lessons from that time forward.

"These guys they're all over the place they're just French citizens in U.S. Army uniforms and U.S. Army equipment trying to honor the history,” said Franklin.

Franklin and the other Maryland Army National Guard soldiers will be in Normandy for six days.