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While under attack of heavy machine gun fire from the German coastal defense forces, these American soldiers wade ashore off the ramp of a U.S. Coast Guard landing craft on June 6, 1944, during the Allied landing operations at the Normandy. (AP file photo)

During the announcements at Wednesday's Hamilton County Commission meeting, Dr. Warren Mackey expressed his appreciation for all those who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice that was D-Day.

Wednesday was the 74th anniversary of the day on which more than the 150,000 Allied forces stormed the beaches on the French coastline.

Mackey said his father was part of those forces, a young but courageous Mayfield Mackey driving an Army truck.

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Jay Greeson

That truck was bombed, and the older Mackey was forced to guard the supplies in the vehicle. He was confronted by German forces and survived a gunfight.

"He never talked a lot about it when we were young," said Mackey, who was not born until 1950. "But after I graduated he did.

"Let's just say that I was very lucky that he was a better shot than that German."

We all were lucky by the bravery and skill of the troops who stormed and survived and sacrificed 74 years and a day ago.

In fact, the amount of feedback from Tuesday's D-Day column was overwhelming.

Here are a few of the emails I got:

From Wendell

I totally agree with you in that June 6 should be a national holiday. A few years ago I was lucky enough to go to Normandy. We walked down to the beach and I don't know how those young soldiers had the courage to land in the face of withering machine gun fire, or the Rangers assaulted the cliff at Pointe du Hoc. The landing was successful due to the courage of the young soldiers. The National Cemetery is testament to the sobering fact that many lives were lost. My father landed at Le Havre on January 15, 1945, and was wounded on March 15, 1945. He was in the infantry and was a radioman in Patten's Third Army. He was wounded on the Rhine River before the Third Army crossed into Germany. Dad was never the same after he was wounded, and he died of cancer in 1985 at the young age of 67.

From Jenny

Let me begin by saying we read your column every day.

Today's commentary on D-Day was especially moving, and it brought me to tears. I have goosebumps just thinking of the events that took place and the young men who were lost. Today's youth have NO idea.

My parents were of that generation. Dad graduated high school in 1941; Mom in 1942. Dad was already in college and on his way to become an engineer. His class was rushed through to graduation so they could serve. Thankfully, he never saw combat.

Mom kept a daily diary for 40 years of her life — from January 1, 1935 (she was 10 1/2) until shortly before her death in mid-1975. It's a treasure trove of history, mostly family related. And the penmanship!! Even as a little girl, it's perfect. My goodness, today's kids are missing out on learning how to write.

Her entry on June 6, 1944, states: "D" day. The invasion is on. The president is speaking now "

Another moving entry on July 4, 1942, states "Everyone has Old Glory out this year."

From Debbie

Oh my! What a column today! It made my old heart swell! I too agree that our country today would NEVER have that kind of courage!

From Mary

Thank you for your reminder of the significance of what happened on this date, 74 years ago. I confess that I had not yet thought about this being D-Day, and I have great reason to do so. My father was one of those men who landed on Omaha Beach that day. Miraculously, he was not wounded, and even more of a miracle, he served 3 years in the European theater without ever being wounded. Like most of the men who fought in WWII, he never said very much about his service. I wish I had been able to talk more with him about it, but I had to say good-bye to him when I was 18. It was too short a time, but they were 18 great years. I am thinking of you and your family as you face that time with your dad.

From Kris

Hi Jay. Loved [Tuesday's] column. Wish my father was still around to ask him what he knew about the invasion. He was a pilot but not sure where he was deployed at the time. Although I do know he was not deployed in Europe. Thanks for bringing this date to our attention.

God bless America and those who made sure we still have this great nation.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com and 423-757-6343.

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