On June 6, 1944, the United States and her allies landed 160,000 troops on the shores of Normandy to liberate France and defeat Nazi Germany. Heat Street’s Emily Zanotti is writing a book on D-Day and joined Mike Opelka on “Pure Opelka” to discuss the bravery and sacrifice commemorated today.
Zanotti recently visited Normandy Beach and did a full tour, including the surrounding areas, with producers and consultants for "Band of Brothers" and "Saving Private Ryan." There were 6,000 landing craft, 822 paratrooper planes, and 13 thousand total aircraft. Seven million bombs were dropped on that area of France that day.
She tweeted a photo of the American Cemetery in Normandy today showing some of the approximately 9,200 crosses facing west toward home. She had an overwhelming emotional experience thinking about these very young people landing in France and marching all the way to Berlin, dying to protect freedom in Europe.
Some of the trees have the tops trimmed off them and “that is to represent that all of those who died were cut down in the prime of life,” reported Zanotti.
Her book will focus on some of the history behind Operation Overlord and the women who contributed to the French resistance. There are four women buried in the cemetery who died in the allied invasion.
Mike marveled at the bravery of the Greatest Generation. The 225 Rangers that climbed Pointe Du Hoc thought they were just doing a job, even though only 90 survived, 80 of which were wounded. Zanotti's Italian family was liberated by American soldiers, and she cannot imagine the human cost of their bravery.