June 6, 2006

D-Day: June 6, 1944

Assault Boats enroute Omaha & USS AUGUSTA

Omaha Beach, Normandy, June 6, 1944

But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
—Abraham Lincoln.

Source: Modern History Sourcebook: Abraham Lincoln: Letter to Mrs. Bixby, 1864

On the night of June 5, 1944, 1,000 ships, the greatest armada ever to set sail, left the British isles, bound for the Coast of Normandy--its mission to liberate Europe. Operation Overlord had begun. On June 6, almost 200,000 Allied soldiers landed on rugged French beaches, code-named Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno, and Sword. Rocky cliffs fortified by the German loomed over the beaches. This was the formidable threshold of the second front, the long-awaited campaign that spelled the end of the Third Reich. Stubborn German resistance and gale-force channel storms caused a devastating loss of men and equipment in the period immediately following the landing. Some American units suffered casualties to half their numbers. The invasion of Europe often seemed on the brink of foundering.

But it did not fail. The door to Europe was opened. American, British, and Canadian forces poured in, accompanied by contingents representing the governments-in-exile of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, and Poland. In little more than two months Paris was liberated. Within a year Hitler was dead and the German Army defeated. Today, above Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery bears silent, but perpetual witness to the cost of the mightiest sea-to-shore operation ever launched.
—Naval Historical Center

Source: Naval Historical Center's Art Collection D-DAY, NORMANDY; Operation Overlord

Posted by niganit at June 6, 2006 6:12 AM
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