On June 6, 1944, thousands of soldiers in the Allied Forces—made up of Canadian, American, and English fighters—washed ashore on the beaches of Normandy, France, for a planned attack known as Operation Overlord.
Though the battle was won decisively by the Allies, more than 4,000 men lost their lives, making it one of the deadliest conflicts in history. Now known across the world as D-Day, June 6 is a day to honor those who gave their lives for this mission, and to remember the importance of this historic day which helped bring an end to World War II.
One of the best places in America to commemorate the day is Bedford, Virginia, which is home to the National D-Day Memorial. As part of the Virginia World War II Heritage Alliance, the memorial is made up of a 40-foot-tall archway surrounded by a reflecting pool and statues symbolic of the soldiers who made their way onto the beach that fateful day.
The memorial hosts a special celebration each year on June 6, with speeches, a plaque dedication, and special tent for veterans and their families to meet and discuss their experiences.
A little further South in New Orleans, Louisiana, visitors to the National World War II Museum can participate in a D-Day celebration of their own. Each year, the museum’s anniversary coincides with D-Day in joint commemorations. Guests can take part in special events like reenactments aboard the Higgins Boat, which played a critical role in the invasion, performances from War-era style musical groups, film screenings, and hands-on history exhibitions.
No matter where you live or how you choose to remember this historic day in world history, there are plenty of ways to show your patriotic spirit right at home. Perhaps you can take the opportunity to write a letter or send a care package to a member of our armed forces, or wear your support proudly on your front door!