On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. General Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by sundown, the Allies gained a foothold in Continental Europe.

The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe. The American Cemetery honors 9,387 American veterans who have been laid to rest in this piece of land given to the United States by France. Next-of-kin made the decision whether to have their loved ones repatriated home or buried here.   A friend told me that when his relative died there, his father had to make the decision, and said, ” “Hasn’t he been through enough? Let him rest.” And so they buried him in France.