WASHINGTON, D.C.—House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) penned an op-ed for The Times-Picayune honoring the 75th anniversary of the D-Day mission at Normandy and the brave heroes of World War II that saved the world from Nazi control. Whip Scalise also announced the reintroduction of legislation that he is partnering with Congressman Cedric Richmond on to designate a commemorative coin in 2020 for the 75th anniversary of the Allied victory in World War II.
Click here or read below for the full op-ed.
Seventy-five years ago, more than 150,000 soldiers risked their lives in a daring mission critical to the Allies’ chances of turning the tide of World War II in the D-Day mission at Normandy.
On June 6, 1944, thousands of American troops bravely ran into danger to defeat the Nazi regime and turn the tide to victory. Their efforts were costly, yet yielded great success as only a year later, we secured victory in Europe.
To honor the sacrifices of those brave members of “The Greatest Generation,” as well as all the other Americans who contributed to the war effort, Congressman Cedric Richmond and I introduced a bill this week to create a commemorative coin that will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Allied victory in World War II. The proceeds of the coin will be used to preserve the legacy of our veterans at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.
As time moves forward, we risk losing the stories and first-hand accounts of those who directly participated in the war effort, making the mission of the National World War II Museum all the more urgent. According to the museum, of the 16 million American veterans who served in World War II, only 1 out of every 32 are still alive. In Louisiana, we are proud to have 5,350 of these heroes call our state home.
To ensure their stories continue to be told for generations to come, it is up to each of us to support efforts like that of the National World War II Museum who preserve this history. This is why we have chosen to support it through this special congressional coin.
The veterans who participated in this war deserve all the thanks and recognition our nation can give for their selfless service to our great country. While we can never fully repay them for the brave sacrifices they made, we are proud to be taking steps to honor their service. Recently, I had the opportunity to personally thank and recognize one of these brave heroes of World War II.
Last month, I had the honor of presenting the Prisoner of War Medal to one of these great WWII veterans, Capt. Lucian James Siracusa. Capt. Siracusa was an Air Force pilot in the war flying his 23rd mission when he was shot down over France just a week before D-Day. He spent more than 400 days in captivity before finally being freed. I am grateful that we can still celebrate and pay tribute to these great heroes from the Greatest Generation while they are still alive.
All of our World War II veterans deserve to be similarly honored. With our coin bill, Congressman Richmond and I are calling on all of our House colleagues to join us in recognizing these heroes for the war’s 75th anniversary. We will be working to gain support from 290 members of the House of Representatives, the threshold to bring up a commemorative coin bill for a vote on the House floor.
There are only two such coins designated each year, and the memory of our World War II veterans certainly deserves to be one of them. It is the least we can do to remember the important sacrifices these heroes made to defeat evil and to preserve freedom not just here at home, but to extend that torch of liberty to all who seek it around the world.