Remembering D-Day, 74 years later

On June 6, 1944, Allied troops invaded Normandy, France as the beginning of a long campaign to liberate western Europe from Nazi Germany in World War II.

The D-Day landings were a triumph of planning, courage, determination and willpower. Many of the men who landed were still just teenagers. Some of those who survived the landings and the subsequent campaign are still alive to tell their important stories today.

The name "D-Day" simply means the day of the beginning of an operation. Operation Overlord, as the invasion was codenamed, began one day later than planned due to rough seas and poor weather.

More than 156,000 troops -- about 73,000 of them Americans, the rest British and Canadian -- invaded France on the first day. Some landed at one of five landing beaches, while paratroopers dropped from the sky.

The five landing sites were codenamed Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha, and Utah. At Omaha Beach alone, nearly 4,000 men were killed or wounded.

The operation was a success. By June 11, 1944, the Allies had landed 326,547 troops and 54,186 vehicles.

Thanks to those many brave souls who fought ferociously, those beaches can now be visited freely. They changed the world in ways that can still be felt to this very day.