Every generation has its generational markers. For those of the World War II era, December 7, 1941, stands supreme, but the events of June 6, 1944, rank a close second. Seventy years ago on that day, 156,000 Allied soldiers, supported by many more sailors, airmen and marines, embarked on the long-awaited invasion of occupied Europe. This was an Allied effort, but American fighting men bore the brunt of the combat and the resulting sacrifice.
For decades, the members of the World War II generation have remembered where they were that June morning when they heard the news that the Allies had landed in Europe. The road to victory, still to be hard, nevertheless now appeared assured.
For years as I grew up, my own grandfather – too old to serve himself, but well aware in 1944 that his 18-year-old only son was about to deploy to the Pacific – would remind me, “Today’s the anniversary of D-Day; that’s the day we knew we were going to win.”
The price for the Overlord invasion on June 6 was 4,413 Allied dead, of whom 2,499 were Americans.