Here is a little blog the VA Office asked me to do about the Beaches of Normandy
The prospect of heading to the beach for some fun and relaxation is an idea that most of us would agree sounds pretty good. Images of swimsuit-clad ladies and gentleman, Mai Tais with those little umbrellas, and games of beach volleyball rush through the mind when thinking about those pristine, sandy beaches. It doesn’t matter if it is the honeymoons of Hawaii, the spring breaks of Cancun, the nude beaches of Europe, or the countless other reasons to visit a beach across the globe, the beach represents the prospects of a well deserved vacation. But for some, a proud assortment of men, a beach represents something that is much more revered than a relaxing vacation. To them, especially when it comes to the shores of Normandy, France, the beach is where the free world declared that the powers of oppression and tyranny would be vanquished.
Instead of the gentle sun shining bright in the blue skies above and the cool surf splashing across the sand, on June 6th, 1944, the beaches of Normandy were scattered with military emplacements, not fluffy beach towels and lounge chairs, under a dreary, overcast sky. On that morning, at six-thirty, it was no longer a time for vacationers or honeymooners; it was a time for heroes. The coastline would be sectioned off into five beachheads from east to west: Sword Beach, Juno Beach, Gold Beach, Omaha Beach, and Utah Beach. Like a five-fingered hand, an extremity of the free world, the forces of the Allies reached out to grasp a part of Europe and to push back the forces of totalitarianism. Every man, 195,700 of them on over 5,000 ships, knew that, in the words of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, they were:
About to embark upon a great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German War Machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world. Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened, he will fight savagely.
After much debate, and even thoughts of cancellation, the order was given, and the mission, Operation Overload, was launched. The great undertaking of reclaiming Europe began.
The five beachheads of Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha, and Utah would become the sight of bravery and determination. American forces, who landed at Omaha and Utah, and Canadian forces, who attacked Juno, joined with British forces, who made up battalions on Sword, Juno, and entirely made up the forces for Gold, and French troops that were free, who were attached to Sword, in staging one of the greatest land, sea, and air invasions the world has ever seen. At the end of the day, it is estimated there were ten thousand causalities, including 2500 dead. At these beaches, the world will forever know the true meaning of Churchill’s words: we shall fight on the beaches.
 Ambrose, Stephen E. (1994). D-Day. New York: Simon & Schuster.