Today marks the 67th anniversary of D-Day and Operation Overlord, when the Allies finally launched their attack on German-occupied France to begin the drive to Berlin and World War II victory in Europe. Perhaps because the anniversary isn't a neat multiple of five, it hasn't been met with swarms of Web features recognizing its significance. In The New York Times, Paul Krugman bemoaned the fact: "Is it just me, or is there a remarkable absence of D-Day related stories in today’s news? Maybe editors are too busy saving Ryan’s privatization." But there are some good ones to be found, if you seek them out. Here are our favorites.
- One of the most visually pleasing is Life's slide show of scenes before and after the invasion. The early color photos bring a sense of Technicolor familiarity to the tranquil "before" scenes, and drive home the destruction in the "after" shots. In particular, the photos of soldiers relaxing belie the combat hell they would soon endure.
- At The Smithsonian's Museum of American History blog, associate curator Debbie Schaefer-Jacobs tells the story of Rosalie Bourlund, who made a wedding dress out of her husband's bullet-riddled parachute. "The material used in Rosalie’s gown not only saw combat, but was responsible for saving her groom’s life," she wrote. Her future husband, Temple Leslie Bourland had bailed out of his C-47 over Germany and spent two days in a foxhole before allied soldiers found him.
- Myriad newspapers carried accounts told by local veterans, who recalled the fear and the death they faced that day. But online, one of the most widely read actually comes from The Atlantic's own archive, with S.L.A. Marshall's detailed account from 1960 of his own experience as a young officer in the invasion. Today, The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf recalls the impact of a visit to the same beach: "I stood on my nation's most glorious battlefield unsure I'd have mustered the physical courage to step off those transports."
- By far, the biggest and most wide-ranging feature comes from the BBC, which has been compiling a special World War II section for months. The D-Day and Operation Overlord subsection includes lots of first-person accounts, video, and features. But it's the animated maps that really help tell the strategic story of the invasion and the campaign. There's also a great overview of the planning and execution of the landings by Professor Duncan Anderson, who attributes the operation's success to "years of planning and preparation, a bold command decision, and a lot of good luck."