76 years ago today, my father along with 156,000 Allied troops, and 7,900 Paratroopers landed in Normandy, northern France for what was the largest amphibian invasionary force in the history of warfare.
As part of Operation Overlord, codenamed Neptune, more than 83,000 British, Canadian and Commonwealth troops landed on Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches. 73,000 Americans landed on Utah and Omaha beaches.
Bad weather and fierce German resistance, the D-Day beach landings were chaotic and bloody, with the first waves of landing forces suffering terrible losses, particularly the U.S. troops at Omaha Beach and the Canadian divisions at Juno beach. But thanks to raw perseverance and grit, the Allies overcame those grave initial setbacks and took all five Normandy beaches by nightfall.
As a child, my father only told me of the 'happy' memories. When I was older, he told me of the grown men on Gold Beach screaming for their mothers, the loss of limbs, and for many, their lives. It wasn't until after he passed away I saw Saving Private Ryan and like for many brought the scene of horrors to life - I sat there dumbstruck realizing the sheer terror of what my father had been through and thankfully survived.
We have much to be thankful for all these brave soldiers that have sacrificed so much for our freedom. To all those who gave their all that day. Thank you to all those that before and since who have sacrificed for good, for right, for liberty, and for our freedom today.