June 6, 1944 It was a long time ago, but it is a day no one should ever forget. Several thousand men and women died on that first day, and many more would follow on the road to Berlin. Personally, I've always been fascinated by history, but this particular period has always been the most interesting to me. It's hard to fully comprehend what those soldiers went through unless you go to the Normandy beaches at low tide and stand at the waterline (as I have). In front of you is 200+ yards of open beach with nowhere to hide. Behind that is an amphitheater of bluffs where you can still see some of the machine gun emplacements. It amazes me how anyone got all the way across the beach in one piece. Saving Private Ryan got a lot of things right, but the beach they filmed it at was nowhere near as wide as the Normandy beaches are at low tide. Obviously, you got an idea of the carnage, but not of the distances.
I will be saying a lot of silent "Thank You's" today.
Check out the D-Day Musuem if you are ever in New Orleans. It's quite a place. Note, the museum has since changed its name to the National WWII Museum.
I highly recommend these books:
Some other sources: Invasion of Normandy The Staff Ride to Normandy