Seventy years ago, thousands of Allied soldiers descended on Normandy to uproot German forces along the northern French coastline. The D-Day effort was costly but successful, paving the way for victory in both Europe and Japan a year later.
Emporia World War II veteran Aaron Bura was serving in the Pacific Theater at the time. He says D-Day was a tactical move that had to be made.
Local veterans of later wars have told KVOE News they marvel at the sacrifice and logistics involved in D-Day. Vietnam veteran Frank Sloat called D-Day the "greatest battle" he had heard of. He says the sacrifices of the D-Day soldiers were sobering -- but they helped to shorten the war.
Steve Harmon, a veteran of Afghanistan, says it's hard to comprehend the overall scope of the mission and the sacrifices involved, even though he saw a lot during his time overseas.
D-Day was part of Operation Overlord, the code name for the invasion of northwest Europe. The D-Day Museum says 156,000 Allied troops -- almost half of them Americans -- landed in Normandy, with about 35,000 Americans landing on Omaha Beach and another 23,000 on Utah Beach. An estimated 10,000 Allied soldiers were listed as casualties, including 6,600 Americans. Almost 4,500 were killed, including some 2,500 American soldiers -- but by the end of the mission, well over 300,000 soldiers and over 100 tons of supplies had a beachhead firmly established.
Close to 12,000 aircraft and almost 7,000 ships supported the mission.