Today, in 1944, the initial phase of Operation Overlord began.
Operation Neptune -- the transport of invasion troops from England to Normandy, landing them, and providing fire-support -- remains the largest seaborne/amphibious invasion in history.
Almost three million troops from the United States, Great Britain, and Canada hit Gold Beach, Juno Beach, Omaha Beach, Sword Beach, Utah Beach and the Pointe du Hoc; supported by just under seven thousand naval vessels drawn from the navies of the United States, Great Britain, Free France, Poland, the Netherlands and other Commonwealth nations.
The butchers bill was severe: 45,000 KIA, 173,000 WIA or MIA. Among French civilians -- including the Maquis -- 12,200 dead or missing.
By the time Operation Neptune was considered complete -- 30JUN1944 -- ground troops from Poland, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, the Netherlands, and Norway were also involved.
Here's to the dead. Here's to the survivors.
And here's to the other countries -- often forgotten -- who stepped up at crunch time and sent their children to fight alongside those of America, Britain, Canada and France in the Channel currents and amongst the Normandy hedgerows.
Thank you, and God bless you.