Operation Overlord was the Allies’ bid to open up a second front in the war against Nazi Germany. Early on June 6, 1944, roughly 13,000 paratroopers parachuted behind entrenched enemy lines ahead of the 135,000 US, British, and Canadian soldiers who later landed on the beaches of Normandy. Over 4,400 troops were killed that day—including 2,501 Americans—with over 73,000 lost in the ensuing month-long Battle of Normandy. The invasion, alongside the Soviet Union’s push from the East, helped seal the defeat of Nazi Germany a year later.

French President Emmanuel Macron will also commemorate the roughly 20,000 French civilians killed during the Allied bombardment and battle.

So we can understand, just a bit, the courage, chaos, shock and sacrifice so many American boys showed on this beach 80 years ago:

D-Day veteran survivors of the Omaha Beach landing have said this is the most accurate representation of what they faced on that day.

Yesterday marked 80 years. There aren’t many surviving members of that generation.

Nearly 200 veterans, with an average age of 100, were present at the memorial service yesterday. One more almost made it:

Those boys, for that’s what most of them were, still in their teens, risked and gave their lives so that Europe and the world could be free.

They weren’t defending America; they were defending democracy.

And they are still championing the battle for freedom.

How can we not be moved?

How can anyone feel cynicism about this devotion and courage?

We should be humbled.

Humbled and grateful forever.