The planning and organization that went into the invasion was staggering and involved the gathering of troops and equipment in southern England, assembling the fleet needed to transport it all across the English Channel, the coordination of land, sea, and air attacks -- everything had to be just right, even the phase of the moon and tides, for the invasion to succeed.
But in the end, it was the bravery and spirit of the individual soldiers that made the invasion work. That is reflected in the stories of men like Morley Piper of Essex, who was a young lieutenant with the 29th Infantry Division as he landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day. Piper’s recollections of the invasion have been printed this week in The Eagle-Tribune.
Piper, now 89, is visiting Normandy with many of his fellow veterans in honor of today’s anniversary. In seeing today’s peaceful fields and hills of the French countryside, he remarked: “To see them now, you wonder if we were ever there at all.”
In the town of La Cambe, Piper and his fellow veterans were honored for their liberation of the town 70 years ago. In the center of the town is a monument honoring the 29th Infantry Division.
“Very stirring,” Piper told reporter Alan Burke. “Brings out the goosebumps and the tears. ... To think that we participated in this momentous event and got through it and are all back to remember it.”
The Normandy invasion was indeed one of the momentous events of history. We will forever remember and be grateful for the courage of those who made it and the liberation of Europe possible.