Opinion

D-Day courage helped change world history

An editorial from The Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — June 6, 1944, was a day unlike any other in World War II.

Or in any other war, for that matter.

If President Roosevelt described Dec. 7, 1941, as a “day of infamy” — the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor — June 6, 1944, was the day that led to the end of the war.

On that day, 70 years ago today, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France.

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation “a crusade in which we will accept nothing less than full victory.”

By day’s end, the Allies gained a foothold in Normandy, but it must be described as a costly invasion. More than 9,000 Americans as well as Allies were either killed or injured.

The Normandy landings, which were code-named Operation Neptune, were the largest seaborne invasion in history. The operation began the invasion of German-occupied western Europe, led to the restoration of the French Republic, and contributed to an Allied victory in the war.

The invasion began by dawn on June 6 as thousands of paratroopers and glider troops were already on the ground behind enemy lines, securing bridges and exit roads. The invasions began at 6:30 a.m. U.S. forces faced heavy resistance at Omaha Beach, where there were more than 2,000 American casualties. However, by day’s end, approximately 156,000 Allied troops had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches.

According to some estimates, more than 4,000 Allied troops lost their lives in the D-Day invasion, with thousands more wounded or missing…

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