About 160,000 Allied troops parachuted or waded onto the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944, in what was the largest sea assault in military history.
Though about 4,500 died by the end of the day, the operation eventually led to an Allied victory across Europe.
The invasion began shortly after midnight with a perilous airborne operation led by paratroopers of the "Screaming Eagles'' 101st Airborne and the 82nd Airborne divisions.
At dawn, thousands of Allied troops leaped out of landing craft to storm the beaches under ferocious German attacks.
U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, then the supreme commander of Allied forces across Western Europe, called the operation a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” Documentary Video: President Reagan’s Address at the Ceremony Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, D-day at Point-du-Hoc – 6/6/84