Today, June 6, marks D-Day, the day in 1944 when Allied forces from America, the United Kingdom, and Canada landed on the beaches at Normandy to liberate mainland Europe from Nazi control. The odds for success that day were bad: for three centuries, no invader had been able to cross the English Channel into Normandy. The 50-mile stretch of French coastline was heavily fortified to fend off a seaborne invasion, and Nazi soldiers lined steep cliffs along the water, armed with machine guns and artillery. Thousands of troops died in the fighting that day, but when it was over, the Allies had gained a foothold into France and, ultimately, Nazi Germany, where they would defeat Hilter.
To commemorate the 65th anniversary of D-Day, President Obama spoke in Normandy, thanking the men who achieved victory there against all odds, and remembering those who died that day:
It was unknowable then, but so much of the progress that would define the 20th century, on both sides of the Atlantic, came down to the battle for a slice of beach only six miles long and two miles wide.
More particularly, it came down to the men who landed here -- those who now rest in this place for eternity, and those who are with us here today. Perhaps more than any other reason, you, the veterans of that landing, are why we still remember what happened on D-Day.
Watch video from the speech above.