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An Overwhelming Show of Force

Sixty years ago, during the early morning of June 6, 1944, Americans received word that three years of concerted planning had finally culminated in D-day -- a military term for the undisclosed time of the planned British and American action. During the night, more than 5,300 ships and 11,000 planes had crossed the English Channel toward the beaches of Normandy, France. The goal of every soldier and civilian involved in that effort was to drive the German military back to Berlin by opening a western front in Europe.

[Dwight Eisenhower Giving Orders to American Paratroopers in England], June 6, 1944. Prints and Photographs Division.'Three Glass Flutes' (left to right) Paris, 1813 (Owned by President James Madison, DCM 0378) Photo of Lt. Col. Herbert Amstutz (Ret.), a former U.S. Army physician, age 101, 2003.

The Library honors and commemorates the sacrifices of those who served in World War II, as well as those who supported them, with its current Veterans History Project. The U.S. Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 to collect stories from World War I, World War II, and the Korean, Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars. It includes all participants in those wars -- men and women, civilian and military. The project documents the contributions of civilian volunteers, support staff and war industry workers as well as the experiences of military personnel from all ranks and all branches of service -- the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard and Merchant Marine.

To commemorate the 60th anniversary of D-Day, the Library has just made several personal recollections of veterans and civilians involved in D-Day available in "Experiencing War."

If you are a veteran or know one, we encourage you to contribute to this project by clicking here or by calling (202) 707-4916.

On the Library's Today in History Web site you can read a brief history of D-Day and learn how it changed the course of World War II. This Web site, which offers historical news for each day of the year, also has information on a variety of people and events that shaped the war, such as the formation of the USO, the Lend-Lease Act, and the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor.

On Dec. 8, 1941, Alan Lomax, then "assistant in charge" of the Library's Archive of American Folk Song (now the Archive of Folk Culture of the American Folklife Center), sent a telegram to fieldworkers in 10 localities across the United States, asking them to collect "man-on-the-street" reactions of ordinary Americans to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the subsequent declaration of war by the United States. A second series of interviews, called "Dear Mr. President," was recorded in January and February 1942. Both collections are included in the American Memory presentation "After the Day of Infamy."

A. [Dwight Eisenhower Talking to American Paratroopers in England], June 6, 1944. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZ62-25600 DLC (b&w film copy neg.); Call No.: Item in PRES FILE - Eisenhower, Dwight--Sup. Allied Commander <P&P>

B. Photo of Lt. Col. Herbert Amstutz (Ret.), a former U.S. Army physician, age 101, 2003. Veterans History Project.

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