CIA Marks 60th Anniversary of D-Day, Honors OSS
May 28, 2004
McLean, VA, May 28 -- At a ceremony today, the Central Intelligence Agency paid tribute to the heroes of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the Allied Expeditionary Force who 60 years ago stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, and spearheaded the liberation of Europe from Nazi tyranny -- many of whom paid the ultimate sacrifice in securing freedom.
About 100 veterans of the OSS -- the predecessor of today's CIA -- attended the wreath laying ceremony in the lobby of CIA Headquarters. Many of the veterans are in Washington, D.C. to participate in tomorrow's dedication of the new World War II memorial on the national mall.
"In this national season of memory, we meet this morning to recall events of six decades ago," Deputy Director of Central Intelligence John McLaughlin said. "Then as now, our country was at war. A war different in many ways from the present global battle against terrorism. It was a fight against states -- states that had taken conquest and slavery as both creed and policy."
Of that critical day, McLaughlin said, "On the 6th of June 1944 -- one of the most noble dates in human history, a date that calls us here together so many years beyond -- there would be a decisive demonstration of that spirit. Of the conviction that injustice and aggression are worth fighting. And that liberty and dignity are work fighting for."
"It was a war of Americans from every part of the nation and every walk of life. Of those who would go on to enrich their communities and their country for years to come. And of those who would never have that chance."
In paying tribute to the role OSS veterans played in laying the foundation for the CIA, McLaughlin remarked, "What we do now, OSS did first. In operations, analysis, and technology. In bringing them together. In creating an organization that served the President -- with the capacity both to report on conditions overseas and to change them in favor of liberty."
"OSS is all around us," he added. "In our history. In the artifacts shared by the veterans and families of OSS -- priceless objects that communicate a sense of pride and achievement to new generations of American intelligence officers."
McLaughlin concluded by stating, "To those who made that possible -- the men and women of the Office of Strategic Services -- I say, on behalf of the Central Intelligence Agency: Thank you. We stand on your shoulders. And we will never forget you."
Respected intelligence historian Dr. David Kahn -- the ceremony’s keynote speaker -- addressed the veterans about the important role intelligence, particularly code-breaking, played during World War I and World War II.
The ceremony concluded with the laying of a wreath at the OSS memorial in the Headquarters lobby and the playing of taps in honor of the 116 OSS members who lost their lives during World War II.