It was the longest day! 

June 6, 1944, 75 years ago today.

It was the largest amphibious assault in the history of human warfare. 

Our U.S. military suffered a total number of more than 12,000 killed, wounded, missing, or captured. Today, there are fewer and fewer actual witnesses alive to tell the story of the “D-Day” invasion of Normandy. Currently there are less than 500,000 World War II veterans still living. The youngest of the D-Day vets are now in their mid-nineties. Soon they too will all be gone. God bless them for what they did that day.

• Ramstein Air Base, Germany sent three C-130Js to France, decked out with a new paint scheme. World War II veterans who fought at Normandy likely would recognize the markings immediately. The aircraft are sporting invasion stripes, alternating black and white bands on the fuselage and the wings that were painted on almost every Allied aircraft participating in D-Day to reduce the chance of getting shot down by friendly forces.

• U.S. troops throughout Europe and the Middle East will have the chance to watch “Saving Private Ryan” on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion depicted in the 1998 film.

• Also celebrating its 75th anniversary this month is the G.I. Bill. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it into law on June 22, 1944. The G.I. Bill has long been considered by historians, politicians and economists as one of the most significant and successful pieces of federal legislation ever produced.

• A new law, called the “Mission Act”, strengthens the VA’s ability to provide vets with state-of-the-art care and services. The law makes several improvements to VA care that will begin effective today. 

The new law will offer an urgent/walk-in care benefit for minor injuries and illnesses. To be covered by this benefit, veterans must be enrolled in the VA health care system and have received care from the VA within the 24 months prior. Eligible veterans can seek this care from an urgent-care facility or walk-in retail health clinic that is part of VA’s community provider network.

For more information about the new MISSION ACT, go to www.missionact.VA.gov 

• Applying for Veterans Benefits should never come with a fee. The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs reminded veterans and their dependents that they should never pay for assistance to apply for veteran’s benefits. County veterans affairs offices offer certified and accredited service officers to assist veterans and their families.

• The Mercer County Disabled American Veterans sponsored the DAV’s Mobile Service Office in May. Two service officers processed 46 new claims the day they visited Mercer County. Thank you, DAV.

Vincent Darcangelo is a retired disabled veterans employment representative. The Veterans Unit of the PaCareerLink, Mercer County, can be reached at 724-347-9257.