History of D-Day: 76 Years Ago

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Normandy Beach, June 6, 1944

Progress

Within two months, the 77-day Normandy campaign led to the liberation of France and, in less than a year, to the defeat of the Nazi forces and the end of World War II in Europe. Between these two events, my father visited Paris while his US Army division was moving through France toward the Battle of the Bulge, and the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp in Germany.

D-Day Landing

This amphibious invasion described as a “never surpassed masterpiece of planning” was called Operation Neptune, part of the larger Operation Overlord, the continental lodgment that began with these Normandy landings. The landing by sea was preceded by the landing of 24,000 troops by air including British, US, and Canadian airborne troops shortly after midnight.

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  • Sword & Gold (British)
  • Juno (Canadian)

Anticipation

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D-Day Books

Some of the best-known books include two by American author Stephen Ambrose’s D-Day June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II and his Band of Brothers.

D-Day Movies

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D-Day Television

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Reflection

Saving Private Ryan begins and ends with Ryan’s visit to the Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville-Sur-Mer, France. As he kneels at the cross of Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) he wonders aloud if he has lived a life sufficiently worthy and earned the sacrifice of the lives of six of Miller’s squad to return him safely home. This is, to be sure, not the right question, it’s not the response to the blood spilled on his behalf. Instead, the proper response is to be grateful… the gratitude that viewers of the film are encouraged to have, echoing the letter recited by General Marshall to Ryan’s mother at the end of the movie:

Silicon Valley Tech Exec: Cloud, Data Storage, Automation. Author of fascinating articles about history, tech trends, andpop culture. Blog: http://billpetro.com

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