France D-Day Anniversary

Henri-Jean Renaud, 86, poses outside the church in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, Normandy, Friday, June 4, 2021. Henri-Jean Renaud, 86, remembers D-Day like it was yesterday. He was a young boy and was hidden in his family home in Sainte-Mere-Eglise when more than 800 planes bringing U.S. paratroopers flew over the town while German soldiers machine guns were firing at them.

Municipal election season is coming to a close. Tuesday is Election Day, and voters will cast their final ballots to choose city leaders.

Local elections draw less attention and participation than statewide and national elections, which is sad because local leaders often have a much larger impact on the day-to-day lives in our communities than do state and national leaders.

Mayors, councilmen and aldermen set the policies and appropriations that govern our communities, impacting infrastructure, small businesses, schools, arts and so much more.

And in several cities throughout Northeast Mississippi, voters will be electing brand new leaders. In Tupelo, voters will choose a new mayor. In Bay Springs, the entire council will be new. And several municipalities will see new members that significantly change the makeup of their governing bodies.

But the importance of voting goes beyond just a constitutional right, it should also be viewed as a sacred duty, one paid for and sustained by brave men and women throughout history who have fought valiantly to protect our freedoms.

Today is the 77th anniversary of D-Day, when Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, France. It was a harrowing, dangerous and deadly invasion. The Allies’ success led to the liberation of France and Western Europe from Nazi control.

The soldiers that waded ashore and rushed headlong into enemy fire did so not knowing if they would live. What they did know, however, was that if they did not fight, our way of life – our freedom and our democracy – would not last. They were willing to die on foreign soil for that freedom.

On Tuesday, we can honor their memories – and the sacrifices and service of all those in the Armed Forces, past and present – with the simple act of voting.

Local leadership is vitally important to the future of our communities and to our daily lives. And our ability to choose those leaders in free, democratic elections has come at great costs.

Exercise not only your right but your solemn duty on Tuesday. Go vote.

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