By 6:30 a.m. on June 6, 1944, about 18,000 soldiers were on the ground. The Gold, Juno, Sword and Utah beaches were won quickly by British and Canadian forces, but Omaha Beach proved difficult.
“Guys were drowning. The water was red with blood. Guys getting wounded and killed. I really wasn’t afraid of any of that. I was afraid of drowning. Once I got on land, things were worse, you know?” – Pvt. Rocco Moretto.
By 8:20 a.m. on Omaha Beach, Germans were shooting at American soldiers. The Allies encountered rising tides and obstacles on the beach, and more than 3,000 soldiers couldn’t fight anymore.
The battle continued, and three hours later, the Allies had launched a formidable response. Prime Minister Winston Churchill told members of parliament, “So far the commanders who are engaged report that everything is proceeding according to plan. And what a plan!”
Meanwhile, Adolf Hitler reassured his commanders that the invasion was a good thing; he reasoned that it gave the Nazis access to the Allied forces.
But near Normandy, the Allies continued to advance against the Germans, with more than 156,000 troops on shore by the end of the day.
Up to 12,000 Allies and 9,000 Germans were killed that day.
The Allies went on to liberate Bayeux on June 7.
“They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
“The 6th June is not a day like others: it is not just the longest day or a day to remember the dead, but a day for the living to keep the promise written with the blood of the fighters, to be loyal to their sacrifice by building a world that is fairer and more human.” — French President Francois Hollande
Let us not forget those who sacrificed so much in the name of freedom –
“When you go home tell them of us and say: for your tomorrow we gave our today”