Seventy years ago this Friday, June 6, the greatest generation embarked on the greatest advance of World War II with the Allied invasion of the beaches at Normandy.
For many of the U.S. and British WWII veterans who are in attendance, they may be gathering at a D-Day commemoration for the final time. It’s an annual ritual, the remembrance of the sacrifice and bloodshed of nearly 160,000 Allied troops, who crossed the English Channel to invade the beaches — code names Sword, Utah, Omaha, Gold and Juno — of northern France in an attempt to turn the tide of the war against Nazi aggression.
Their efforts changed the fortunes of the war in favor of the Allies, liberating France and Western Europe and beginning the march to Berlin and the war’s end in 1945.
According to The New York Times, “World leaders set to attend the 70th anniversary celebrations on Friday include President Obama, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Queen Elizabeth II of Britain alongside the country’s prime minister, David Cameron.”
It’s important to note that our World War II heroes are getting older and leaving us daily. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that there are just 1.2 million veterans remaining out of the 16 million men and women who served this country during that service era.
Other D-Day Stories and Resources
D-Day At 70: Historic Photos From the Invasion of Normandy
The Washington Post, June 5, 2014
Vets, Visitors Flock to Normandy to Remember D-Day
ABC News, June 5, 2014
D-Day: Exploding the Myths of the Normandy Landing
CNN, June 5, 2014
A Brotherhood Born of Heroes In D-Day Landing
Los Angeles Times, June 5, 2014
D-Day: The Bloody Turning of The Tide
Daily Beast, June 5, 2014
D-Day 70th Anniversary: Ceremonies and Staged Landing Held
BBC, June 5, 2014
D-Day 70th Anniversary: ‘I Could See the Town, My Town, Burning Behind Us
The Independent (U.K.), June 5, 2014
D-Day: Ex-BBC Man Recalls Eisenhower Speech
BBC, June 4, 2014
Germans, Now Alongside Allies, Honor D-Day Victims
Seattle Times, June 4, 2014