Today we honor the 75th anniversary of D-Day. D-Day is also known as the Normandy landings and codenamed Operation Neptune. It was the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. It was the most massive seaborne military operation in history and had a significant impact on World War II’s outcome. The operation kickstarted the beginning of the liberation of German-occupied France, and later western Europe, from Nazi control. D-Day laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front.
World War II lasted from 1939 to 1945, with the Battle of Normandy taking place from June 1944 to August 1944. The D-Day battle began on June 6, 1944, with over 156,000 American, Canadian, and British forces landing on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of France’s Normandy region. Being the most massive seaborne military assault in history, D-Day required extensive planning. This included a deceptive campaign designed to mislead the German troops, as well as a 24-hour delay because of bad weather.
By sunrise on June 6, 1944, paratroopers and glider troops were already securing bridges and roads behind enemy lines. The seaborne invasion began at 6:30, and the Allied forces were able to capture the beaches codenamed Juno, Gold, Sword, and Utah. U.S troops faced far more resistance at Omaha Beach, which resulted in over 2,000 casualties. Less than five days later, the beaches were secured by the Allies, but not without sacrifice. Over 4,000 Allied troops lost their lives in the invasion, and thousands more were injured or missing.
By the end of August 1944, northern France was liberated entirely, and by the spring of 1945, the Allies defeated the Germans. Many call D-Day the beginning of the end of the war in Europe.
Ways to Observe D-Day
Although it is not a federal holiday, there are many ways to observe D-Day. There are many museums with displays, as well as memorials and ceremonies all over the country. Many also choose to observe D-Day by watching movies or miniseries’ on the subject including The Longest Day, Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, and many others.
Click here to see more of our holiday blog posts.