June 6, 2014 marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day, one of the largest military invasions in history. Not only did the mission liberate the French from German occupation, it also marked a turning point in WWII. Nearly 5,000 ships transported over 24,000 British, American, and Canadian troops who stormed a 50 mile stretch of beach in Normandy, France. While allied forces went to great efforts to deceive the Germans as to the exact date and time of the impending invasion, the Germans were well prepared. The shores were heavily mined and covered in stakes and barbed wire and the Germans launched heavy fire from atop cliffs and embankments. By the end of the day, allied casualties were estimated at over 4, 400, which is more than the total casualties from 10 years of war in Afghanistan. In some ways, the operation was not a success. Leading up to the invasion, everyone knew that casualties would be heartbreakingly high, but poor weather conditions further complicated the mission by blowing ships off course and making it even more difficult for troops to get on shore and find cover. In the days following the initial landings, it took longer than expected for the various divisions to reconnect and form a secure front along the beach. Gaps between groups of troops made it hard to communicate and complicated an already challenging situation. However, the end result was that the allies were able to gain a vital foothold that allowed them to invade and reclaim Western Europe. This milestone anniversary is special because it is one of the last that will be attended by WWII veterans. Out of the 16 million veterans who served during WWII, there are approximately 1.2 million still alive today. The Veteran’s Administration estimates that they are dying at a rate of 550 per day. Those who participated in D-Day are a part of our living history that is inevitably disappearing. Across the world, nations will be marking this historic day and paying tribute to those who served and those who died. Be sure to look for events in your area and help commemorate this day and the sacrifices that were made.