D-Day AnniversarySusannah Walbank
Each year, thousands of people, descend on Normandy in France to remember those who risked their lives in D-Day, Operation Overlord and the Battle of Normandy. This year celebrates the 75th anniversary of the tragic battle. The anniversary will be commemorated with military parades, fireworks, airdrops, concerts and military camp re-enactments.
The 6th June 1944 marks the D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy commenced, where men from all over the world came to fight the Nazi regime. Around 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50 mile stretch in Normandy. General Dwight Eisenhower was appointed commander of the Operation Overlord and he told the troops “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 amphibious invasions began at 6:30am and by the end of the day more than 4,000 Allied troops lost their lives. Thousands more were wounded or missing.
By the end of August 1944, the Allies had reached Seine River and Paris was liberated. The Normandy invasion started the turn against the Nazis and by May 8th 1954 the Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany and Hitler committed suicide a week earlier on April 30th.
In January 2018, the French Ministry of Culture announced the D-Day landing beaches to be included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. This will ensure the sites are preserved and will help to transmit the universal messages they represents. Since the tragic event, they have come to symbolize universal hopes for freedom and peace.