A U.S. Army soldier collects sand June 3 at Omaha Beach on the Normandy coast in France ahead of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, June 6. CNS photo/Pascal Rossignol, Reuters

A U.S. Army soldier collects sand June 3 at Omaha Beach on the Normandy coast in France ahead of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, June 6. CNS photo/Pascal Rossignol, Reuters

By Elizabeth Bachmann | Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON – In remembering the estimated 4,400 Allied troops who died storming the beaches of Normandy, France, 75 years ago on D-Day, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services said that "Jesus Christ reminds us there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends."

"At this time, in particular, we express deep gratitude for those who laid down their lives on D-Day," he said in a statement June 4 before traveling to France for the 75th anniversary of the Normandy invasion to commemorate and give thanks for the lives lost on the beaches of Normandy, in Europe and in the Pacific. The German casualties on D-Day were between 4,000 and 9,000.

"We ask God that their sacrifice not be in vain," Archbishop Broglio said. "We beg him to transform our power to turn war into a force for peace, to transform our weapons into plowshares, to give us the ability to negotiate, to talk and to listen."

He also prayed that Catholics and all Americans will "remain vigilant against the forces of evil in our troubled world, and to pour our energies into building lasting peace and justice among nations."