June 6, 1944, 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end on June 6, the Allies gained a foot- hold in Normandy.
Then there was Omaha Beach. For our military, Omaha was a near-suicide mission. First, a powerful undertow swept away lives and weapons; ten landing craft with twenty six artillery guns and twenty two of twenty nine tanks were swamped.
Then, they faced the enemy and were relentlessly fired upon. Within ten minutes of landing every officer and sergeant of the 116th Infantry Regiment was dead or wounded.
By 10:00 a.m., as Americans received the first news of D-Day, 300 men had struggled through mortar fire, across the body and equipment strewn beach, and up a bluff to attack the German defenses. By nightfall, the Allies had a toehold on the continent, yet, on “Bloody Omaha” alone, 3,000 Americans lay dead.
Overall we lost over 6,000 warriors. Yet, we overcame, we prevailed… as Americans always do.