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Illustration of the graves at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial after the US ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II D-Day Allied landings in Normandy, in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, on June 6, 2024.

Ammar Abd Rabbo/ABACAPRESS.COM via Reuters

From D-Day to E-Day: Legacy of the Longest Day

At 5:52 a.m. on June 6, 1944, Private First Class Gene Sellers, a high-school football star who had just received a scholarship to play at the University of Arkansas, leaped from a plane to parachute behind Nazi lines in Normandy, France. As part of the Pathfinder unit, Sellers’ job was to set up a covert radio and communications base to help guide the rest of the American troops who would follow hours later as part of Operation Overlord. Tragically, Sellers drifted too far behind enemy lines and was spotted and killed, becoming the first American casualty of D-Day.

Later that morning, on a nearby strip of coastline, Jim Parks,of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, joined 21,000 other Canadians attempting to land at Juno Beach. They immediately came under heavy German fire, and Parks had to jump into the ocean.

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Annie Gugliotta

D-Day in 2024: Is it even possible?

A few days before US President Joe Biden arrived on the beaches of Normandy to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day, a smaller war erupted on the GZERO office Slack channels.

“It’s impossible to imagine us launching something like D-Day again,” I wrote in our group channel. “Skepticism of foreign intervention is too high. The Forever Wars are too recent. Our society is too polarized. No way our leaders could get enough people to support it.”

But my colleague Matt Kendrick, one of the most thoughtful and historically minded guys you’ll ever meet – the guy can reliably write 1,000 (legit fascinating) words about how some obscure naval battle actually shaped our world more than the steam engine and the internet combined – pushed back on me.

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Hump day recommendations: 80th D-Day anniversary edition

Read: How the AP Covered D-Day. When Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy 80 years ago, journalists stepped into the maelstrom of German defenses right behind them to record this pivotal day in world history. The Associated Press has combed through internal records to memorialize how its reporters typed out the first copy and snapped the now-iconic photographs that informed the free world of its costly, but crucial victory on the path to liberate Europe. – Matt

See: D-Day viewed from the East. On the morning of June 7, 1944, as Western papers blared optimistic headlines about the Normandy invasion, citizens of the Soviet Union awoke to just a single, small mention of it, buried on the front page of a Pravda edition that led with news about the Red Army’s battles in Romania. The Kremlin, of course, had been pushing the Allies to open a Western front for more than two years while millions of Soviet soldiers and civilians lost their lives along the blood-drenched Eastern front. For a closer look at the Soviet coverage of D-Day – including some great cartoons! – check out this account by a scholar of Russian and Soviet media - Alex

Visit: Churchill War Rooms. Heading to London? Be sure to visit the underground government nerve center where Winston Churchill directed Britain’s military during World War II — and where he spent D-Day. The well-preserved bedrooms and meeting rooms take you back in time, while the computerized exhibition tables and tableaus tell you everything you need to know about the war. You’ll also learn how Churchill bounced back from his failed World War I campaign to seize control of the Dardanelles Straits in western Turkey (resigning in disgrace) to leading Britain to victory against Nazi Germany alongside the allies. “To improve is to change. To be perfect is to have changed often,” Churchill said, in what proved to be a lifelong theme. — Tracy

Watch: "We Were the Lucky Ones." There were over three million Jews in Poland before World War II. By the end of it, 90% of them were murdered by the Nazis. This show tells the harrowing story of a Jewish family in Poland that gets separated at the start of the war and their desperate, courageous efforts to be reunited. It serves as a reminder of the tyrannical forces the Allies were fighting to defeat on D-Day. – John

Visit: The National World War II’s D-Day Exhibit. Find yourself in the Big Easy? Check out the D-Day exhibit in the National World War II Museum (formerly the D-Day Museum) in New Orleans. On June 6, 1944, the Allied forces launched the largest amphibious military invasion in history, Operation Overlord. “The D-Day Invasion of Normandy” interactive exhibit provides a comprehensive look at one of the most decisive days of the war. Through oral histories, artifacts, and more, it breaks down the preparation, logistics, and costs of storming the beaches of Normandy. The museum is hosting a commemoration on June 6 and 7 to honor Operation Overlord and its veterans. – Sophia

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