The 79th Anniversary of D-Day

79 years ago, on 6 June 1944, The Allied Expeditionary Forces (United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, etc) invaded Normandy, France, the mission was codenamed: OPERATION OVERLORD; At the time, the D-Day invasion was the largest naval, air and land operation in history. Around 156,000 men were deployed onto the 5 Normandy beaches, 4000 (total) Allied troops, some 50,000 ground vehicles, and 100,000 tons of equipment (rifles, grenades, etc). After a few days of the Invasion, the Allies took back all of France from the Nazis, Historians like myself will often refer to Operation Overlord as the beginning of the end of the Second World War.

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4 Star General & 35th President of The United States Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower giving the order of the day to the paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division, 5 June 1944 CREDIT: National Archives

After the Second World War began, Nazi Germany invaded and occupied northwestern France beginning in May 1940. The Americans entered the war in December 1941, and by 1942 they and the British were considering the possibility of a major Allied invasion across the English Channel. The following year, Allied plans for a cross-Channel invasion began to ramp up. In the November of 1943, Fuhrer (Leader) Adolf Hitler, aware of the threat of an invasion along France’s northern coast, put Generalfeldmarshall Erwin Rommel in charge of spearheading defense operations in the region, even though the Nazis did not know exactly where the Allies would strike. Hitler charged Rommel with finishing the Atlantic Wall, a 2,400-mile fortification of bunkers, landmines, and beach and water obstacles across Normandy.

Generalfeldmarshall Erwin Rommel of the Wehrmacht & Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP) Photo Credit to:

We use June 6th as a remembrance day of why “War is hell” and why war is not “cool” or “fun” I still believe that this bloody hell we call “war” should be taught, we must remember why this war happened, and we must remember the lives of the brave souls that gave their lives so we could live in freedom, and not under Nazi tyranny.

Quotes from D-Day:

“I am prepared to lose the whole group.” – Colonel Donald Blakeslee, commanding the 4th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force, briefing his P-51 Mustang pilots


“’Hitler made only one big mistake when he built his Atlantic Wall,’ the paratroopers liked to say. ‘He forgot to put a roof on it.’” – Stephen E. Ambrose, Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest


“I don’t feel that I’m any kind of hero. To me, the work had to be done. I was asked to do it. So, I did. When I lecture kids, I tell them the same thing.” — PFC Joseph Lesniewski, Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division


“You get your a*s on the beach. I’ll be there waiting for you and I’ll tell you what to do. There ain’t anything in this plan that is going to go right.” – Colonel Paul R. Goode, in a pre-attack briefing to the 175th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division


“God almighty, in a few short hours, we will be in battle with the enemy. We do not join battle afraid. We do not ask favors or indulgence but ask that, if you will, use us as your instrument for the right and an aid in returning peace to the world.” – Lieutenant Colonel Robert L. Wolverton, commanding officer of 3rd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment


“This is the end for Germany.” – Major Werner Pluskat, 1st Battalion of the 352nd Artillery Regiment of the German 352nd Infantry Division, at dawn on June 6, 1944


“There is one great thing that you men will all be able to say after this war is over and you are home once again. When you are sitting by the fireplace with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what you did in the great World War II, you can look him straight in the eye and say, ‘Son, your granddaddy rode with the Great Third Army and a son-of-a-g*ddamned-b*tch named Georgie Patton!’” – General George S. Patton


“Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.” – President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Movie Recommendation

“Saving Private Ryan”

Saving Private Ryan has a very accurate representation of the Second World War on the Western Front. It also includes a very accurate scene of D-Day.