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National World War II Memorial, Washington D.C. (National Park Foundation)
Stone monuments are symbols of flesh and blood sacrifice by real human beings
It may be hard to imagine a time when our entire country, and much of the free world, was united in a common cause. In 1945, 75 years ago, the Allied nations were battling Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in the final year of the most destructive war in human history.
The optimism created by the June 1944 invasion of France and advances toward the German frontier was dashed by the surprise German offensive in the Ardennes in December. Despite fighting a two-front war, Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany were determined to defend their homeland to the very end.
In the Pacific Theater, Japanese resistance became even more fanatical as American, British, Australian, and Chinese forces closed in on Japan. Even bloodier battles lay ahead.
The war cry of the previous year, “End the War in ’44,” became “Home Alive in ’45” as the new year began.
From January through September of this year, we will be taking you back to the year 1945 as it was experienced by people from and in La Crosse County as told on the pages of the La Crosse Tribune, La Crosse County Record, West Salem Nonpareil Journal, Bangor Independent, and other sources. Many made contributions and sacrifices, both in the armed forces and on the Homefront, to defeat the Axis powers. We should remember them all as heroes doing their part to save the world.
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