Sixty-five years ago today, the largest amphibious invasion force the world has ever seen assaulted Adolf Hitler's version of Fortress Europe. The first allied boots that actually landed on French soil hit the ground many agonizing hours before the waiting Germans even saw the first inkling of the masses of landing and assault craft coming at them over the channel horizon.
By the end of the day, approximately 5,500 Allied soldiers, including around 2,500 Americans, would be dead. Five American soldiers would be in line for a Congressional Medal of Honor, one of which was the son of a former president and the highest ranking American soldier to land on the beaches of Normandy on that historic day.
By midnight, the German beach defenses had been breached, the Allies were moving swiftly inland, the Soviet Red Army was driving on Germany from the east, and Hitler's vaunted Thousand Year Reich had just under eleven months remaining.
Cornelius Ryan, in his excellent written account of D-Day, named it The Longest Day. For those who participated in it on either side, it most assuredly was.
An excellent video concerning D-Day:
From the German perspective:
Eisenhower's pre-invasion speech to the troops:
FDR's D-Day address to the nation: