D-Day – The Greatest Generation – 78 years and never forgotten
Jun. 6, 2022
Plymouth Michigan News
Today we commemorate the Armed Forces and America’s Greatest Generation that stormed Normandy’s shores to defend the world from tyranny 78-years-ago during D-Day landings and the Battle of Normandy.
“I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory.” – Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, June 6, 1944.
We especially remember the late Fred Millard, Northville Township resident born and raised in Plymouth and Livonia.
Fred Millard, Jr.
July 14, 1924 – March 6, 2013
AN AMERICAN HERO
On June 6, 1944, Fred Millard set off for the shore of Omaha Beach in a Higgins boat with 31 other members of H Company, 2ndBattalion, 16thInfantry. After nearly drowning when his company had to jump into water over their heads, he unloaded most of the gear weighing him down and was lucky just to make it to shore. Once on the beach, he armed himself with a rifle from one of his fallen comrades and quickly developed a plan for making it to the base of the hill in front of him.
Eventually, he joined up with Joseph Dawson, a captain in another company who is well known today to military historians for being the first officer to reach the ridge on Omaha Beach. That area is now reverently known as Dawson’ s Ridge.
Millard was a member of the most decorated infantry division of the US Army, the 1st Infantry Division, known as the “Big One” landed with the First Wave on Normandy’s Omaha Beach along with the 29th Infantry Division and nine companies of U.S. Army Rangers. Millard severely wounded during his service in North Africa and Sicily was awarded two Purple Hearts and the French Legion of Honor Medal. He received one of his Purple Heart military decorations from General Eisenhower himself in England.
In 2010, Millard received a letter from Graham Paul, consul general of France in Chicago informing him that has been named Knight of the Legion of Honor.
Paul wrote, “My fellow countrymen will never forget your sacrifice,”
“Heroes like Fred Millard not only set an example for us through their well-documented bravery and heroism they have lived their lives as powerful reminders that we as Americans have more in common than we do things that divide us.” Bob Dorigo Jones – senior fellow Center for America, March 9, 2013.