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Trending topics: 70th D-Day anniversary

The invasion that changed WWII

4:44 PM, Jun. 5, 2014  |  Comments
In this June 6, 2014 file photo, allied troops crouch behind the bulwarks of a landing craft as it nears Omaha Beach during a landing in Normandy, France. The D-Day invasion broke through Adolf Hitlers western defenses and led to the liberation of France from Nazi occupation just as the Soviet Army was making advances in the east, turning the tide of the war in the Allies favor. Allied troops landed on the Normandy coast of France in tremendous strength by cloudy daylight today and stormed several miles inland with tanks and infantry in the grand assault which Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called a crusade in which we will accept nothing less than full victory.
In this June 6, 2014 file photo, allied troops crouch behind the bulwarks of a landing craft as it nears Omaha Beach during a landing in Normandy, France. The D-Day invasion broke through Adolf Hitlers western defenses and led to the liberation of France from Nazi occupation just as the Soviet Army was making advances in the east, turning the tide of the war in the Allies favor. Allied troops landed on the Normandy coast of France in tremendous strength by cloudy daylight today and stormed several miles inland with tanks and infantry in the grand assault which Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called a crusade in which we will accept nothing less than full victory.
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Seventy years ago, the tide of the war in western Europe changed as Allied forces invaded the Normandy coast of France.

It was a remarkable accomplishment - about 150,000 British, American, Canadian and French troops took part in the June 6, 1944, invasion against Germany, which had overrun France and much of Europe.

RELATED: East grad recalls 'overwhelming' D-Day invasion 70 years ago

This 70th anniversary is important because many of those who took part in Operation Overlord are close to 90 years old or in their 90s. We're losing our direct link to history.

If you search the hashtags #dday and #dday70 on Twitter, you'll find lots of links, historical photos and current images of the battleground.

Quite often, when we review historical events, we see that some of the same mistakes the media make today were made back then. Take June 3, 1944, for example, when your radio station might have announced that the D-Day invasion had begun.

Slate tweeted a link to a story:

According to the Slate story, CBS interrupted the Belmont Stakes to report the Associated Press had confirmed the invasion had begun. Not more than 3 minutes later, AP retracted it. But by then NBC and the Mutual Broadcasting System had announced the start of the invasion.

Many tweets include historical photos and links to stories about the invasion.

Not found in the Twitter universe, though, is the website d-dayforecast.com , which is about the book "The Forecast for D-Day and the Weatherman Behind Ike's Greatest Gamble" by John Ross. He tells the story of Capt. James Martin Stagg who was the only meteorologist who told Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to delay the invasion from June 5 to June 6. It proved to be a brilliant decision.

Michael Beschloss, historian and contributor to NBC and PBS and a contributing columnist for New York Times, tweeted vintage photos including one before D-Day in which the supreme allied commander meets with his troops:

As well as one of "a rare color photo of pensive US soldiers" before the invasion.

The Twitter account of WWII Memorial Friend tweeted this picture:

One Twitter user tweeted a photo of Eisenhower giving "one final speech to the 101st Airborne before they jump into Normandy."

Historical Pics keeps true to its name and tweets photos from history, including an overall shot of "Invasion of Normandy, D-Day, 1944"

Mashable also tweeted a link to iconic images from June 6, 1944, and afterward.

Reuters Top News tweeted a link to a photo gallery that juxtaposed photos from the D-Day invasion and the days following with photos taken today at those same locations.

Prior to the 70th anniversary celebrations, media companies got into a tiff with France and its two big broadcasters over live coverage of the events. France wanted to charge for the privilege.

Steffen Konrath of Liquid Newsroom, a newswire on Twitter, tweeted on May 31:

France eventually relented and allowed free live coverage.

Some of the anniversary coverage includes David Wyllie, an NBC News journalist, who tweeted:

Much of the anniversary coverage focused on the Allied soldiers who returned to Normandy and those who recalled their efforts there.

The Telegraph tweeted this photo:

The Des Moines Register tweeted a link to the story of Henry Langrehr of Clinton, Iowa, who parachuted into Normandy ahead of the Allied landing.

If D-Day had failed, Eisenhower had prepared a script in which he would take sole responsibility for failure.

In a tweet from Now Media News:

Now Media News linked to a story in the Daily Express that said a draft, known as "In Case of Failure," included a plan to withdraw troops to northern France "rather than let them fight to the death."

But just because they're in their 90s, doesn't mean that some can't still re-enact that day in 1944.

Some of those who fought on D-Day were prepared to re-enter France the same way they went in 70 years ago.

GuardianUS tweeted link to a story of D-Day paratrooper Jim "Pee Wee" Martin who parachuted into Normandy before the June 6 invasion.

Martin is now 93 and lives in Ohio. He told the Guardian:

"The one thing I want to emphasize is that we were not heroes. A hero is someone not expected to do something. When you volunteer, and you get trained for it and get paid for it, you may be brave as hell but you are not a hero."

His attitude and modesty exemplify what others have referred to as the "Greatest Generation."

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