Of that 160,000 men, there were 10,000 casualties, with 4,414 confirmed dead on the first day of the invasion.
By the end of June, 875,000 men had crossed the English Channel to France, and the liberation of Nazi Europe had begun.
It's hard to imagine, 71 years later, what courage it must have taken to jump off a landing craft into a foaming surf and charge up a windswept beach raked by machine gun fire in the early hours of a gray overcast day, knowing that this was only the beginning of months of hardship, suffering, and death yet to come.
We can never repay the brave men who risked everything that day – not for personal gain or glory – but to liberate a continent not their own from a tyranny that did not threaten them directly.
We can only thank them – and honor them.