D-Day was the first day of a long campaign to push the Germans out of France. The campaign was far more difficult and costly than Allied planners anticipated. Normandy had a unique physical aspect that made it ideal for German defenses -- virtually every field was surrounded by high embankments topped by overgrown “hedges.” Then Allies paid an extremely high cost to grind their way slowly through this impossibly tough terrain.
Each major anniversary of D-Day brings with it new information and knowledge that helps us to better understand the full picture. On this 70th anniversary, French authors have pointed to the enormous toll taken on the citizens of Normandy. Tens of thousands were killed in Allied bombing raids that destroyed cities and towns that were considered vital to the German lines of communication and supply. The large-scale destruction of Normandy towns is a fact that is not generally known by Americans. Our focus has long been on the cost in American lives, but war on the scale seen in World War II does not differentiate between soldiers and civilians.
This week we remember the courage, strength and sacrifice of the young men who stepped ashore in Normandy. They changed the course of history, and helped rid the world of an unimaginable evil.