The display in the Goshen Historical Museum window tells a story of community sacrifice that was universal during World War II. “Goshen sends 1,200 to war” shouts the banner headline in the “V-Day” edition of The News Democrat published May 5, 1945. The victory being heralded in the edition was the Allies triumph over Nazi Germany and its allies.
Turn the pages to today and our nation and nations who fought those Nazis alongside us, are honoring an event that led to that victory. Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, which was the landing of Allied forces on the beaches of Normandy, France to begin the slow, deadly process of pushing the German army out of France and other occupied European nations. Today is a solemn day and it is being marked with ceremonies around the world to honor those who took part in the landings.
On June 6, 1944, it’s likely the GIs headed for Normandy were thinking more of their immediate survival than their impact on history. But what an impact they had.
Some of those men who landed on D-Day and in the days and weeks that followed, were from the Goshen area. Most of them returned home after winning the victory in Europe. But some did not return with their bodies and minds intact. Others did not return at all and their eternal sacrifice has left large holes in their families and in our community.
Even after 70 years, the deeds performed that day by ordinary men from Goshen and thousands of other American communities, stand as a testament to how our nation committed during World War II to aid the enslaved and the occupied people of Europe. As Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman stated so well on Memorial Day, “We Americans are at our best when we are bonded by a noble purpose.” Yes we are.