This Sunday marks the 77th anniversary of the greatest gamble in World War II.
On June 6, 1944, more than 156,0000 allied forces launched from the sea onto the beaches of Normandy. Nearly 7,000 allied ships commanded the French coastline, and more than 3,200 aircraft dominated the skies. A few miles inland, 23,000 paratroopers landed to block German reinforcements from the shore.
After years of preparation, practice and training, the Allies had come to break German power in Europe.
For the American, British, Canadian and other soldiers who landed in Normandy that day, this was a crusade. Gen. Dwight Eisenhower’s message to the allied forces made clear the moral implications of D-Day:
“Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!
“You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe,