On June 6, 1944, on five French beaches—Omaha, Utah, Gold, Sword, and Juno—the U.S. and other Allies launched the largest military operation in history. Their objective was to establish a beach head, liberate France from the Nazis, and ultimately move on to Berlin to defeat Adolf Hitler and win World War II. And they succeeded. Today, seventy-one years later, we honor the 3,000[i] Allied heroes who died in that “D-Day” offensive which turned the tide of history.
Near the visitors’ center of the Omaha Beach Cemetery and Memorial, at Colleville-sur-Mer on the Normandy coast of France, there is a slab of pink granite with a time capsule, set to be opened on June 6, 2044—the 100th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. The plaque on the slab is emblazoned with the five-star seal of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander of the European theatre during that invasion and later the President of the United States.