Seventy-five years of world history has passed, but one monumental event occurred on June 6, 1944, that will stand out forever. Labeled “Operation Overlord” by U.S. military commanders, the landing on the beaches of Normandy was the beginning of the end of World War II in Europe.

Thousands of American troops from the various branches of the armed forces stormed the beaches in a stunning military maneuver that had been in the planning stages for more than two years. The Americans weren’t alone in the landing. More than 1.5 million Allied troops deployed from England at the time. About 156,000 of them crossed the choppy English Channel and landed in Normandy on D-Day, June 6. About half the troops participated in the beach landings and airborne operations that day. While U.S. forces led the charge, the rest of the forces involved in the historic landing were from the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Norway and 11 other countries.

Allied code names were stamped for the various landings — Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. Omaha was the largest and the costliest. The American forces had the heaviest losses: Some 2,400 casualties.

Scores of dough boys from the M&M region were involved in the invasion. Some of them didn’t return home. Many others were wounded, some scarred for life.

Three generations of the area’s population has come and gone since D-Day, but family scrapbooks, writings, photo albums and souvenirs brought back by the participants of battle have kept the memories alive. Area museums have a collection of artifacts to refresh the minds of younger folks who had grandparents and great-grandparents who partook in the famous battles.

General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower receives much of the credit for the incredible planning of the invasion, but practical wisdom reminds us that other talented military commanders, from the U.S. and other countries, contributed to the bold and daring blueprint.

Common people still shudder when they read or hear about the astonishing raid: Landing more than 156,000 troops across the 150-mile stretch of Normandy coast line; 6,000 ships; 50,000 vehicles; and 11,000 planes. The cost in lives: 12,004 total killed, wounded, missing or captured. The U.S. registered 8,230 of the total.

In part, the words of General Eisenhower need to be repeated to highlight the spirit, loyalty and bravery of those who were there: “They did it so the world could be free.”