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Alabama officials join bipartisan delegation to Normandy for D-Day 80th anniversary

Thursday, June 6 is the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landing – one of the largest and most decisive battles of World War II. U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn), U.S. Senator Katie Britt (R-Montgomery), and Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-Selma) will join a bipartisan Congressional delegation traveling to Normandy, France to mark the occasion.

Sen. Tuberville’s father, Charles Tuberville, participated in the battle as a member of the U.S. Army. The senior Tuberville landed and fought on Utah beach on June 6, 1944 as the driver of a tank.

“I am honored to join my colleagues in honoring the brave soldiers who lost their lives on the beaches of Normandy 80 years ago,” said Sen. Tuberville. “It has always been a bucket list item for me to see the beaches where young adults, like my father, heroically fought for our freedom. May we never forget their sacrifices and honor them by making sure our children know the truth about the freedoms that make America so great.”

U.S. Senator Katie Britt (R-Alabama) is also part of the bipartisan delegation led by Senators John Boozman (R-Arkansas) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut).

“I’m proud to be in France to commemorate this historic anniversary and honor the valiant Americans who courageously stormed the beaches of Normandy 80 years ago,” said Senator Britt. “We must never forget that the liberties, opportunities, and rights the Greatest Generation fought to preserve came at a tremendous cost. We are the Land of the Free because of the brave, and I’m deeply grateful to have this opportunity to express the enduring appreciation, admiration, and awe of our great state and nation.”

RELATED: Alabama WWII veterans revisit Normandy for 80th anniversary of D-Day

Senators Tuberville and Britt are also cosponsors of a bipartisan resolution commemorating the 80th Anniversary led by Senators Boozman and Chris Coons (D-Delaware), unanimously passed the Senate on Tuesday.

Rep. Sewell delivered a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives honoring Alabama native Captain Malcolm Smith who was killed during the Normandy invasion.

“Born in December 1917, Captain Smith was a native of Alabama,” Rep. Sewell said. “He attended Ramsey High School, where he was president of the student body and an outstanding athlete in the baseball and track teams.”

“He was a cadet at West Point and as WWII began, he expressed the desire to become a pilot,” Sewell continued. “He entered flight training in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1942. He won his wings in December 1942 and graduated on January 19, 1943, as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Forces.”

“Captain Smith was married and, after arriving overseas, he was delighted to discover that his daughter, Susan Ann, was born on February 29, 1944,” Sewell said. “He flew many combat missions and was awarded five Air Medals. His P-47 was nicknamed “Mary Ann” after his wife. His unit was one of the most heavily engaged air groups in isolating and softening the enemy defenses in Normandy just before D-Day. His unit suffered many casualties. On May 21, 1944, Malcolm was killed in his P-47 while completing a ground mission near Vibraye, France.”

“Captain Malcolm A. Smith rests at the Normandy American Cemetery. He was 27 years old.”

Captain Smith rests in the cemetery that Sewell, Tuberville, and Britt will be visiting on Thursday.

The delegation will arrive in Normandy on Thursday, June 6, and join American and French leaders and veterans at a ceremony at the American Cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer. The delegation will meet with World War II veterans and pay their respects at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. Later that day, members of the delegation will join heads of state representing Allied partners at an international ceremony at Omaha Beach in Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer.

While in France, the delegation will also meet with American diplomatic and military leadership stationed in Europe. Chief among topics discussed will likely be the Ukraine/Russia War and the pace at which U.S. aid is reaching Ukraine’s forces as they are being pressed all along the 800 mile front. European security concerns and the posture of U.S. forces there are also likely to be a key topic.

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