Turning Point: D-Day, June 6, 1944


(View from a landing craft disembarking troops on D-Day)

Sixty-four years ago under overcast skies, Allied troops from the United States, Great Britain, France and Canada sat in landing craft awaiting the fateful order to hit the beaches. They were part of the largest amphibious landing ever.

These men were not professional soldiers seeking conquest for conquest’s sake. Rather, they came from all walks of life back in the real world.  These ordinary young men I am sure were filled with dread as their landing craft negotiated the deadly gauntlet from the ships to the heavily fortified beaches of “fortress Europe”. On the shore above the beaches German defenders waited to drive them back into the sea.

When the steel doors of the landing craft splashed into the surf, the soldiers slogged towards the shore through a firestorm of machine-gun fire and shelling. Many were killed instantly, others drowned in the water, still others made the beach only to be killed before advancing further. Those that did find cover from the German defenders’ onslaught had no rest, they now had to advance and drive a wedge into the enemy fortifications. It was imperative a beachhead be established, or the war would be prolonged yet again. To end the long war the Allies must push the Germans back. The goal, to land on the beach, stay there, and advance to Berlin. Hitler and his evil Nazis must be defeated at all costs. The world was watching and waiting.

Eleven months after these brave men fought and died on the bloodied beaches of Normandy, Hitler was dead, and the Second World War was over in Europe. D-Day, June 6, 1944 was truly one of the most important turning points of the war.


(American cemetery at Normandy)

Those who fought there, and those who died there, I salute you.

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14 Responses to Turning Point: D-Day, June 6, 1944

  1. stamperdad says:

    My father was in the Royal Canadian Air Force (military intelligence unit) stationed in London, England in 1944-1946. Two of his brothers were also in the RCAF. One of them, his youngest brother , was killed in flight training just before shipping overseas.

    You can see I have a strong link to the military. Dad’s oldest brother was an American citizen and he worked in the petroleum industry during the war.

    Thanks for all for the comments and resulting discussion.
    Steve

  2. rosemerry says:

    Both of my grandfathers were in the military. One was a submarine captain and the other was in the Army Aircorp and then the Airforce. My granddad who was in the airforce was stationed in Alaska. My other grandfather said what he did was classified so he didn’t talk about it but he was a captain of a submarine. They both lived to old age.

    Thanks for writing this it was very informative.

  3. stamperdad says:

    When you next see him tell him for me that he should be proud and that my generation is doing all we can to keep the memories alive. I and many more like me thank him from the bottom of our hearts for his service.

    Steve

  4. Kip de Moll says:

    My Dad, didn’t make it to the beach. His LST hit a land mine and most of the 1st Division was instantly killed. He was one of the few to survive and swam to shore. He has finally written about it (perhaps I should make it as one of my blog entries!) (light bulb!), but even to this day, I have never heard him actually tell the story. He has been uncomfortable on boats ever since.

  5. stamperdad says:

    Appreciate all the comments. I enjoyed writing the piece.

    Steve

  6. Holly says:

    Thanks, Steve –
    Your comments have accomplished what our local and national media did not – I am indeed mortified to see that our news media has become the latest “What’s happening with Britney?” rather than an intelligent tribute to history.
    Bravo to you.

  7. richard novick says:

    .Steve,
    Very well done.
    Richard

  8. stamperdad says:

    Thanks to all for reading and remembering.

    Steve

  9. Dennis Price says:

    And so should everyone salute them for their selfless dedication to such a dangerous and many times fatal mission. Thanks to all those who fought for our great country, and for those who continue to remind us of their service. Kudos to you Stamperdad.

  10. WendyCinNYC says:

    Thanks for posting this. It’s good to take a moment to remember.

  11. stamperdad says:

    It is a sentiment that I certainly echo. Thanks for reading.

    Steve

  12. I am always in awe and admiration of the people who serve in the military; as part of a military family, I know my loved ones put their lives at risk and what their sacrifice means not just to them but to their families.

  13. stamperdad says:

    What amazes me is how they had the fortitude and courage to do it knowing full well the chances of surviving were not great.

    Thanks Steve

  14. So much bloodshed at Normandy. It must have taken superhuman courage to storm that place the way they did, knowing that many of them were in front to be mowed down. And this was where numbers mattered. They could not do it without huge support and with many, many men willing to risk their lives.
    You are right- they must have been terrified but they knew right from wrong and knew what they had to do.

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