D-Day 75 years later
Walking on the beaches of Normandy is a heart-rendering experience. It’s hard not to imagine the unspeakable terror young soldiers faced on D-Day as they waded onto shore in the early-morning hours of June 6 in the face of a wall of German firepower.
As tranquil as Omaha, Utah, Sword, Juno and Gold beaches look today, 75 years ago chaos and bloodshed were the order of the day. No one will ever know the many acts of heroism that occurred that day. We owe the Greatest Generation more than a debt of gratitude – we owe them our freedom.
In the largest seaborne assault in military history, some 160,000 troops and more than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft crossed the English Channel to start the invasion of Europe along the 50 mile coast of Normandy. By day's end, allied forces had gained a foothold on French soil.
But it came at a great cost. Allied forces suffered more than 9,000 casualties either killed or wounded. Over the next two months as troops moved inland on a push to Paris and the liberation of France, the numbers would escalate to 225,000 killed, wounded or missing with 400,000 German casualties.
Celebrated every five years, the 75th anniversary may be one of the last ones that a D-Day veteran will attend. In five years, the youngest veteran would be around 97 years old.