Many call June 6, 1944, the beginning of the end of World War II. The amphibious D-Day invasion of France’s Normandy coastline has been lauded for the ambitiousness of the Allied leaders, the bravery of the deployed troops and the secrecy of strategy and planning by all. Film great Steven Spielberg’s stark, honest and captivating portrayal of the landings casts vivid images that remain with the millions of moviegoers who watched the opening scenes of “Saving Private Ryan” in 1998. Later, the Spielberg- and Tom Hanks-produced mini-series “Band of Brothers” appeared on HBO in 2001 to give the world a peek into how the 101st Airborne’s “Easy Company” (2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment) dropped behind enemy lines in advance of the landings to secure the flanks prior to the invasion.
The History Channel’s This Day in History for June 6 gives a terrific summation of the lead up to and the events during D-Day. But the late Stephen Ambrose, one of the world’s foremost historians and author of “Band of Brothers,” “D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II” (which in many ways was the basis for “Saving Private Ryan”) and several other World War II-related books, capsulated some poignant moments in an interview with CSPAN2’s Book TV. His expertise and observations give the day’s events true grit.
Add your own memories and thoughts on this important date in American history in the comments section of this post. — Christian Pelusi, USO