70 Years Ago Today, They Landed on Omaha Beach

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A helmet on a beach in Normandy in the aftermath of D-Day.
Photo by David Turnley from the book W W II in 100 objects.

WPCNR MILESTONES. June 6, 2014: 

Seventy years ago this morning, thousands of troops stormed the beaches in Normandy, France in the largest invasion in history.The bloody assault against a heavily defended coastline, requiring incredible courage and sacrifice by allied troops, landing craft, paratroops, signalled the beginning of the end of the Third Reich and the regime of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.The quiet beaches of Normandy today. The hundreds of rows of white crosses in cemeteries around the little town bear silent eternal vigil to the sacrifice of those brave men and women who fought, died, and triumphed this day 68 years ago today.

 

We can in no way, or through any motion picture know what any veteran experienced that day. The veterans who still are with us do not like to talk about their combat experiences. And they do not.

One veteran of D-Day, asked what he thought of Saving Private Ryan, the movie of a few years ago depicting the landing and the realism of it, said the real D-Day was worse. However, veterans we have interviewed remark that they think of their combat experience every day. It is always with them.

It is inconceivable to me that I could ever be able to do what these men and women did. I would like to hope I could have. However, the veterans have.

They left ordinary lives as teenagers office workers, factory workers, farmers, accountants, and what have you and were able to go to war and “rise to the occasion,” or as they say today, “step it up to the next level.” The highest level.

Few of them are left now. But today their sacrifice should be remembered.

 

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