Remember the sacrifices made in Normandy

On this day in 1944, the land, air and sea forces of the United States and 11 allies conducted what became known as the largest amphibious invasion in military history.

Some 155,000 Allied troops stormed five separate beaches at Normandy on D-Day, with the Americans landing at Utah and Omaha beaches and the British and Canadians at Gold, Juno and Sword beaches. By the end of June, the Allies had sent 850,000 men, 148,000 vehicles and 570,000 tons of supplies to the Normandy shores. The success of the invasion created a path to victory, with the Germans unconditionally surrendering at Reims, France, less than a year later.

The “24 hours that saved the world,” as D-Day is sometimes called, did not come without sacrifice. More than 2,500 American soldiers died in combat on Omaha Beach alone. Almost 2,000 more men from seven nations perished that day.

The day is certainly worth commemorating, and there are several opportunities to do so this weekend.

The First Division Museum at Cantigny Park in Wheaton is remembering D-Day with two special exhibits and special programs.

•”Nothing But Victory” is an immersive outdoor installation spanning 300 yards, simulating the man-made and topographical features that soldiers encountered in Normandy. Free guided tours are available June 8, July 13 and Aug. 24. Visit for details.

• “Over Land, Over Sea, Overlord” inside the museum explores the personal D-Day stories of seven well-known personalities, revealing a profound intersection of celebrity and sacrifice.

• Moonlight Movie: “Saving Private Ryan”

Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks, this gripping war movie set during the Normandy invasion will be shown from 7 to 8:15 p.m. Friday, June 7. The film is rated R.

• Evening Symphony: Commemorating D-Day in Music

Gather in the Tank Park for this timely performance by the West Suburban Symphony, featuring stirring patriotic and military music, including the “Band of Brothers” suite and the “Saving Private Ryan” theme, among other selections. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 8.

Several lectures also will be presented at the museum this weekend and throughout the summer. Check for specific times. Topics are Celebrity Servicemen: Famous Individuals of D-Day (June 8, July 8 and Sept. 23), Faces of D-Day (June 10 and Sept. 9), Beyond the Beaches: The 1st Division and Armor at Normandy (June 17, July 22, Aug. 5) and Dynamic Leadership: Three Generals and the 1st Infantry Division (Aug. 19).

The museum will offer extended hours June 6-9. Visit for more information.

The following D-Day ceremonies and programs are among those available for viewing.

• The National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va., will livestream its ceremony beginning at 10 a.m. today at

• The National World War II Museum in New Orleans, La., will livestream its ceremony at 11 a.m. today at

• “D-Day The Unheard Tapes” premiers at 7 tonight on The History Channel. The two-part documentary series, co-produced with BBC Factual, relives the Allied invasion through the voices and words of those who were there, from all sides.

• “D-Day: 80th Anniversary,” a one-hour documentary, is available to stream on Apple TV.