On June 6, 1944, 70 years ago, the Allied forces mounted the largest amphibious landing and assault in the history of the world. The massive operation was called Operation Overlord, and included forces from many countries, and later became known as D-Day. The Allied Forces assaulted nearly 50 miles of France’s coastline in order to establish a foothold for the retaking of Europe from the Nazi forces of Germany. A multinational force of over 175,000 personnel, 5,000 ships, 50,000 vehicles, and 13,000 aircraft participated in the invasion, which became the turning point in the war.
Over 10,000 allied troops lost their lives in that 24 hour period around the beaches of Normandy, and in excess of 2,000 of those were American soldiers. They fought their way through sections of a 2,400 mile fortification made up of concrete bunkers, machine gun emplacements, tank ditches, barbed wire, land mines and underwater obstacles designed to sink landing craft. It was some of the deadliest fighting beheld during the entire war and it did not end there. It still took the better part of a year to push the Nazi military back into Germany. As a result of their efforts Europe was able to be liberated from the Nazi threat and the war would be won.
The Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs in cooperation with the Fort Douglas Military Museum will be hosting an event to commemorate and honor those veterans and their families who fought during the D-Day invasion. A Certificate of Appreciation and a 70th Commemoration challenge coin will be given out to D-Day Veterans or to their next of kin who attend the commemoration event. The ceremony will be held at 3:00 pm on June 6, 2014 at the Fort Douglas Post Theater.