June 6, 1944, D-Day, the greatest amphibious assault in history – a key date in World War II. America and our allies began the process of physically taking Europe back from the Nazis and Fascists.
Immortalized in the movie ''Saving Private Ryan,'' the contributions of the soldiers who won the day at Normandy in 1944 cannot be underestimated. People do what they have to do in such situations, but most young Americans of this day can scarcely imagine such an endeavor.
What young American men continue to do, however, is register for a military draft should America ever again require such a massive military mobilization. In its annual report to the nation for 2017, the Selective Service System announced a 73 percent registration compliance rate for 18 and 19-year-olds in fiscal year 2015. The rate for the 20-25 group was 94 percent.
Federal law requires that virtually all young men living in the U.S. register with Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. The American people, through their local, state, and federal elected representatives, have made Selective Service registration a requirement for securing a number of opportunities, including federal student loans, job training, government jobs and U.S. citizenship for male immigrants.
The World War II generation with its commitment to country will never be able to understand how people do not comply with the registration law. Nor will they accept that ''what's in it for me'' (or what can be lost) is the primary reason young men sign up.
With research showing that the biggest barrier to young men's compliance is lack of awareness, we can only hope that it does not take another war of mammoth proportions to produce knowledge of the obligation to serve and defend the nation.
The men and women who made D-Day, even with its high cost in lives, a success know well the price to be paid.