Return to D-Day
On June 6, 1944—D-Day—thousands of Allied soldiers parachuted onto the beaches of Normandy, France. The day was a turning point in World War II that effectively began the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi control. The men and women who served or supported this operation will never forget that day, and neither will the citizens in France, who celebrate the sacrifices the Allied forces made for them and for their freedoms, those long decades ago.
Bill Van Osdol has witnessed first-hand the respect and gratitude the locals in France still have today for the Americans and their allies. From period costumes and vehicles to reenactments—including a parachute drop of thousands—Americans are welcomed with open arms, and thanked profusely. Nowhere is more celebratory than in the town of St. Mere-Eglise, where D-Day ceremonies concluded with a seated dinner for hundreds of American veterans and active duty Army and Navy personnel.
“It’s unbelievable the pride they have for the Americans who liberated them,” says Van Osdol. “Wherever there are battle sites in France, you have it. They dedicate