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Four Thousand Miles From D-Day

U.S. troops wade ashore on Omaha Beach during the first wave of D-Day landings on June 6, 1944.

U.S. troops wade ashore on Omaha Beach during the first wave of D-Day landings on June 6, 1944.

D-Day (J-Jour to the French) began in the early morning of June 6, 1944 on a spring low tide when 150,000 Allied soldiers in a 5,000-vessel armada crossed the English Channel to disembark on a rocky, seaweed-strewn stretch of the beaches of Normandy. By nightfall, 18 hours and 30 minutes after the first soldiers stormed the beaches from which William the Conqueror, 900 years earlier, had set sail to snatch the crown of England, the Normandy beachhead was secured.

Did any of the mounted coastguardsmen and sentries with fixed bayonets who patrolled Indian River County’s moonlit beaches that night sense a frisson, a seismic shiver resounding from the heavy bombardment that churned the Normandy coast? Or were they busy watching a stream of hatchling turtles scurry into the surf by the light of a moonbeam? How long would it take for the first ripple to work its way across the Atlantic?

Read the entire article in the Summer 2010 issue