(WKBN) — June 6 marks the annual observation of D-Day, the day the Allies invaded Western Europe in World War II, which ultimately led to the end of the second world war.
The D-Day operation brought together the land, air and sea forces of the allied armies in what became known as the largest amphibious invasion in military history, according to National Archives.
Almost 133,000 troops from the United States, the British Commonwealth and their allies landed on Normandy beaches on D-Day in 1944, with casualties totaling around 10,300.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower determined the D-Day operation, named OVERLORD, would bring a quick end to the war, and the following statement was sent out to the troops.
While he remained optimistic, there also exists a handwritten note from Eisenhower if the operation had been unsuccessful. It reads as follows:
“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air, and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.”Dwight D. Eisenhower
The in-case-of-failure note turned out to be unnecessary. By June 11, the beaches were fully secured and over 326,000 had landed in Normandy, and on May 8, 1945, Nazi Germany gave its unconditional surrender.
The U.S. Army lists four men awarded with the Medal of Honor for their “gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 6 June 1944”: Private Carlton W. Barrett, First Lieutenant Jimmie W. Monteith Jr., Technician Fifth Grade John J. Pinder Jr., and Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr.