D-Day | JUNE 6
June 6, 1944, is known most commonly by the term D-Day and refers to the landing of Allied forces on the beaches of Normandy, France. Troops staged one of the most pivotal attacks against Germany during World War II.
The codename Operation Overlord became known as the beginning of the end of World War II. Following the Battle of Normandy along a 50 mile stretch of beaches, including Utah and Omaha Beach, the attack became known as D-Day. While many explanations exist for the name, one reason may be due to the military countdown. The countdown designated the day and hour of the assault. D represented Day and H represented Hour in the military.
The battle liberated Northern France. Britain, the United States and Canada sent more than 160,000 Allied troops under the leadership of General Dwight Eisenhower. The troops manned more than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft the day of the initial landing.
HOW TO OBSERVE D-Day
On June 6th, World War II museums, memorials, and ceremonies honor the Allied forces who landed along the 50 mile stretch of beaches in 1944. Learn more about the Battle of Normandy by exploring World War II museums. You can read books about the Battle of Normandy or listen to a podcast such as:
- D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II by Sarah Rose
- The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan
- Normandy ’44: D-Day and the Battle for France by James Holland
- Pegasus Bridge by Stephen E. Ambrose
- The Bedford Boys by Alex Kershaw
- History Extra Podcast
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The landing of troops on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944, known around the world as D-Day, was given the name Operation Overlord. Leading up to the attack, plans of deception were carried out to mislead Germany.
June 6th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History
A twenty-two-year-old George Williams founded the Young Men’s Christian Association in London, England.
Richard M. Hollingshead Jr. of Camden, New Jersey created the first drive-in theater.
Allied forces land on the beaches of Normandy, France during World War II.
Phylicia Rashad’s performance in Loraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun earned her the Tony Award for Best Actress. She was the first African American to win the Best Actress category.
June 6th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays
Nathan Hale – 1755
In 1776, at the age of 21, Captain Nathan Hale volunteered to carry out a mission ordered by General George Washington. Hale was charged with gathering information on the British troops. When the British revealed the Patriot’s identity, they swiftly placed a noose around Hale’s neck. According to legend, Hale declared before being hung, “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”
Sarah Parker Remond – 1826
Born into freedom, the African-American abolitionist and suffragist spoke to audiences around the world. In 1853, a theatre owner denied Remond and two of her two companions entry to the Opera, and the police responded. Remond brought charges against Henry Palmer, the theatre operator, and C.P. Philbrick, the officer who responded. Judge Russell found for the plaintiff, ordering the theatre to “stand by their contract, and give to every ticket holder of whatever nation, color or condition, the place which he has brought.”
David Scott – 1932
The American astronaut flew several missions during the space race, including a 1971 Moon landing. During the mission on July 31, 1971, Scott drove the Lunar Roving Vehicle, becoming the first person to drive on the Moon.
Phillip A. Sharp – 1944
In 1993, American molecular biologist Phillip Sharpe and Richard J. Roberts shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Their study of DNA and split genes inspired new research into mRNA and evolutionary biology.