“…these men came here – British and our allies, and Americans – to storm these beaches for one purpose only, not to gain anything for ourselves, not to fulfill any ambitions that America had for conquest, but just to preserve freedom. … Many thousands of men have died for such ideals as these … but these young boys … were cut off in their prime. … I devoutly hope we will never again have to see such scenes as these. I think and hope, and pray, that humanity will have learned. … We must find some way … to gain an eternal peace for this world.”— Dwight Eisenhower, interviewed by Walter Cronkite for “CBS Reports: D-Day Plus 20 Years: Eisenhower Returns to Normandy,” air date June 6, 1964, quoted in Carlo D’Este, Eisenhower: A Soldier’s Life (2002)
Though Operation Overlord ultimately proved successful on this day 70 years ago, former general and president Dwight Eisenhower still felt heavily responsible for the lives of the 160,000 Allied troops who stormed ashore in France to help liberate Europe from Fascism. Twelve thousand of these American, British and Canadian troops were killed or wounded that day. The horror was so beyond imagination that we can only hope—and work night and day for—the “eternal peace for this world” that Eisenhower—who endured World War I, World War II, and the Cold War—deeply yearned for.