June 6, 2014 is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France. In America, for some reason our wars mostly tend to happen in the first half of the decade. Meaning that we have been hitting big anniversaries for The War of 1812 (200 years), the Civil War (150 years), and World War II (70 years) in the last few years and will continue to do so. For some reason, this latest batch of historical war anniversaries haven’t gotten the attention previous anniversaries have. So I wanted to take a moment to remind people of the sacrifices that were made so we are free, to think and act and to hear the opinions of other people who think differently than us.
The term D-Day is actually military jargon for any invasion day, but to many Americans D-Day means the opening of a second major front and the Allied Invasion of Europe. Hitler’s Germany had Blitzkrieged across Europe, quickly rolling across Europe to the sea. Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany had an uneasy truce designed on both sides to buy time. Once Hitler only had United Kingdom between him and total domination in Europe he turned in earnest to the Eastern Front against Russia. In December 1941, American entered the war, but it would be a long time before they would actually commit troops to a large scale battle. The Russians dealt with the full force of Germany until America and United Kingdom got up to speed. The Russians were begging for a second front to be opened to divert Hitler’s attention and provide them some relief. The Allies increased their campaigns in Northern Africa where Allied-Axis forces had been fighting since 1940. It was the African front that taught the Allies the lessons they needed and finally they determined the time had come to invade Europe. Several of the biggest and cleverest misinformation campaigns in all of history led up to the attack and continued to keep some German troops occupied for weeks after the attack started. They managed to move an entire army across open water in poor weather to hit the enemy, taking him almost completely by surprise. However, it was an attack on a beach that had been densely fortified for almost 5 years against attack and it was in no way an easy battle. Almost 10,000 Americans are buried in the American Cemetery in Normandy, France and more were shipped home for burial or died later of their wounds. We thank them for our freedom and remember that freedom is never free, not to those who fought or those who must safeguard our rights and responsibilities in times of peace.
D-Day and the Wizard War from the Smithsonian
D-Day 70th Anniversary and the National World War II Museum in New Orleans
Life Magazine Color Photos of Summer 1944 France
D-Day Anniversary Photos
View these two videos recently uploaded by the U.S. National Archives.
D-Day to D plus 3
D-Day to Germany, 1944
Thank you for your service.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.