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D-Day: What fighting fascism really looks like

Tomorrow, June 6, marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the World War II operation in which Allied troops stormed heavily fortified beaches in Nazi-occupied Normandy, France. The Normandy landings of Operation Neptune, commonly referred to as D-Day, were the largest amphibious invasion in world history. 

The D-Day invasions were an all-or-nothing operation. If the American-led operation failed to secure the Normandy beachhead, it was possible that the war effort in its entirety would be doomed. Having lost the element of surprise, it would be exceedingly difficult to succeed in a second operation. If D-Day failed, the Nazi takeover of the rest of Western Europe was very plausible. General Dwight D. Eisenhower even drafted a message for such an occasion, which would have meant full retreat. 

On June 6, 1944, tens of thousands of American, British, French, Australian, and Canadian soldiers landed almost simultaneously on five parcels of the Normandy coastline -- beaches codenamed Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. 

The invasion of Omaha Beach, the toughest area to secure because of its difficult terrain and most heavily embedded defenses, was assigned to American forces, who were also responsible for taking Utah Beach.

Thankfully, the Greatest Generation was up to the task. They saved the free world as we know it today. D-Day’s success continued to turn the tide even further against Nazi Germany. The Nazis were forced to scrap plans for most offensive operations, with a two-front war now continually closing in on its territories.

The American heroics came at a great cost of life and limb. U.S. casualties for the D-Day invasion included 2,499 dead, 3,184 wounded, 1,928 missing, and 26 captured by the Nazis.

On Wednesday, President Trump was joined by British Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron, and other world leaders to commemorate the 75th anniversary. 

President Trump will fly to Normandy Thursday to participate in another ceremony recognizing allied efforts to win the war.

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