D-Day Matters

Does the 80th Anniversary of D-Day Matter?

Image:  War-63137_640.jpg is a D-Day Free license -  Image by Pixabay.

This is why we think it does…

Normandy is the site of tragedy and triumph. Sacred ground for the incredible loss of life. Today, we’re about four generations away from one of the most famous battles of World War II where three Allied countries sent their men to free France and defeat the Nazis. But why does it matter today? Or the better question might be how do we help people today learn and remember something that seems so far in the past?

With over 160,000 people involved in the invasion, more families around the world are connected to that one battle than kids sitting in history class realize. We now have a fourth generation living with such freedom who has no idea how different life would be had that battle gone differently.

Coordinating the surprise attack with bad weather, date change, strong currents, beach landings with massive equipment, perilous cliffs, German forces, and flooded land caused near failure. Yet the Canadian, British, and U.S. Allies did not give up the ambitious plan. Over fifty miles of coastline and five beaches were involved. Twenty-seven amphibious tanks sank, and paratroopers died both in the air and when landing in flooded marshes while weighted down, Germans plucked off infantry from the cliffs into the lower beach areas. Still, the allies did not give up. 

Eventually, the graves of known and unknown soldiers from many countries covered Normandy. Are your people buried there? 4,414 Allied forces died that day. Over 5,000 were injured. The following Battle of Normandy caused the loss of 73,000 Allied and 20,000 French citizens. German losses are estimated over those days as about 22,000. Injured on all sides is somewhere in the range of 153,000 and up.

How do we remember the sacrifice of our Allied troops? What can we do if the events are too far from home to take family? Spark interest in children by sharing family stories and personal memories. Show photos of family and friends who fought for the freedom you enjoy today. Choose movies ahead of the anniversary to watch together that help younger generations understand and connect to what their ancestors experienced. A simple search for the term “D-day” on any streaming system shows everything from documentaries to huge interpretational box office blockbusters.

Look up your ancestors in military records, National Archives, and possibly the Normandy cemeteries. If it’s in your ability, go to the events near you. Honor your ancestors and take all your family. Remember those who gave their all, so we hold all we have dear, without disregard, because what we have today came at an enormous price. Does D-Day matter today? Yes!

The Lone Sailor representing all who served, men and women, depicted as about 25 years old and well-respected by his shipmates. Photo taken by Angela Breidenbach.

Article written by Angela Breidenbach, PLCGS. Published by Family Tree Magazine UK  in their newsletter dated Friday, 31 May, 2024.

Register Today in our U.S. World War ll Ancestors course

Find Your Military Ancestors Who Served for Our Freedom

This elective course can be added to any certificate program or taken for personal interest.

International Institute of Genealogical Studies
Research With Confidence
Study at Your Own Pace

Need help with your order? Call 800.580.0165 x1 in US/Canada or email angie@GenealogicalStudies.com with your question.

Back to blog