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A Soldier salutes at a memorial service in Beuzeville-Au-Plain, France
"In a few hours I'm going to take the best company of men in the world into France. We'll give the bastards hell. Strangely, I'm not particularly scared. But in my heart is a terrific longing to hold you in my arms. I love you Sweetheart - forever. Your Tom," an excerpt from a letter that was written by 1st Lt. Thomas Meehan III, company commander of E Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Air Assault. The hands of a wristwatch forever stopped at 1:12 on the morning of June 5, 1944 were lost to the fields outside of Beuzeville Au Plain, 56 years later they were recovered. A year later, in 2001, a monument was unveiled to memorialize the crew and paratroopers; closing a chapter of an unfinished story for the family, friends, loved ones and comrades of the men who lost their lives during Operation Overload. The C-47 carrying Meehan was hit with anti-aircraft fire, and caught fire near the rear of the plane. As the fire traveled forward to the cockpit, the paratroopers aboard were unable to jump because the plane's altitude was too low for the parachutes to open. All were lost in the crash. Today, June 3, 2015, Soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) attend a ceremony to remember those men and their actions on that fateful day. Over 380 service members from Europe and affiliated D-Day historical units are participating in the 71st anniversary as part of JTF D-Day 71. The Task Force, based in Saint Mere Eglise, France, is supporting local events across Normandy, June 2-8, 2015, to commemorate the selfless actions by all the allies on D-Day that continue to resonate 71 years later. (U.S. Army photo by Capt. Saska Ball, USACAPOC(A) PAO)

Tags: DDay, DDay75
Photo by: Capt. Saska Ball |  VIRIN: 150603-A-DI144-876.JPG