June 6 and 7 are the anniversaries of several hallmark and sobering events in American history.
Today is the 77th anniversary of D-Day and the Allies’ 1944 invasion of German-occupied France. The day marked the turning point in World War II's European theater. It is one of the somber reminders of the sacrifices on the beaches of Normandy and 75 million worldwide deaths during the war.
June 6 is also the anniversary of the death of Robert F. Kennedy after he was shot in Los Angeles by Sirhan Sirhan in 1968.
Bobby Kennedy’s death came after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated two months earlier. Their deaths changed the country’s trajectory on the Vietnam War, civil rights and presidential politics for years to come.
Tomorrow, June 7, is the anniversary of the Battle of Midway in 1942. The naval fight was a decisive win and turning point in the Pacific War. It turned the tide of the war against Imperial Japan.
Monday is also the anniversary of the origins of the Plessy v. Ferguson ‘separate but equal’ Supreme Court decision upholding racial segregation.
In 1892, Homer Plessy, who was French speaking and of Creole descent, was arrested for refusing to leave a whites-only car on the East Louisiana Railroad. The Supreme Court ruling upheld institutional segregation in the landmark ruling.
It took until 1954 for the court to undo the Plessy ruling via Brown v the Board of Education. The next year, Rosa Parks, also started further dismantling of segregation. We still see the remnants and legacies of segregation and institutional racism today — including here on the Shore.
The anniversaries of June 6 and June 7 show the sacrifices, service and challenges of our history. We hope they help provide some contemporary lessons on our collective purpose and promise.