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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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