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D-Day: The 70th anniversary of a day that changed the world

Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review - Paul Klimovich, 92, World War II Army veteran and participant in D-Day displays his release papers and a picture of himself when he was in the service at his apartment at Schenley Gardens in Oakland, Friday.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Andrew Russell  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Paul Klimovich, 92, World War II Army veteran and participant in D-Day displays his release papers and a picture of himself when he was in the service at his apartment at Schenley Gardens in Oakland, Friday.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review - Paul Klimovich, 92, World War II Army veteran, formerly of Greenfield, talks about his participation in the D-Day landing at his apartment at Schenley Gardens in Oakland, Friday.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Andrew Russell  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Paul Klimovich, 92, World War II Army veteran, formerly of Greenfield, talks about his participation in the D-Day landing at his apartment at Schenley Gardens in Oakland, Friday.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review - Paul Klimovich, 92, World War II Army veteran and a participant in D-Day holds hands with his wife Evelyn Klimovich, 87 at their apartment at Schenley Gardens in Oakland, Friday.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Andrew Russell  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Paul Klimovich, 92, World War II Army veteran and a participant in D-Day  holds hands with his wife Evelyn Klimovich, 87 at their apartment at Schenley Gardens in Oakland, Friday.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review - Paul Klimovich, 92, World War II Army veteran shows his medals at his apartment at Schenley Gardens in Oakland, Friday.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Andrew Russell  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Paul Klimovich, 92, World War II Army veteran shows his medals at his apartment at Schenley Gardens in Oakland, Friday.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review - Paul Klimovich, 92, World War II Army veteran and participant in D-Day shows a picture of himself when he was in the service at his apartment at Schenley Gardens in Oakland, Friday.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Andrew Russell  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Paul Klimovich, 92, World War II Army veteran and participant in D-Day shows a picture of himself when he was in the service at his apartment at Schenley Gardens in Oakland, Friday.
AFP/Getty Images - FRANCE - JUNE 6: American troops landed on Normandy beaches (north-west of France), to come as reinforcements during the historic D-Day, 06 June 1944, during WW2. American troops supporting those already on the coast of Northern France, plunge into the surf and wade shoreward carrying equipment, on Utah Beach, Les Dunes de Madeleine, France. Bulldozers and other engineer equipment prepare the beach for the landing parties. AFP PHOTO STAFF (Photo credit should read STF/AFP/Getty Images)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AFP/Getty Images</em></div>FRANCE - JUNE 6:  American troops landed on Normandy beaches (north-west of France), to come as reinforcements during the historic D-Day, 06 June 1944, during WW2. American troops supporting those already on the coast of Northern France, plunge into the surf and wade shoreward carrying equipment, on Utah Beach, Les Dunes de Madeleine, France. Bulldozers and other engineer equipment prepare the beach for the landing parties. AFP PHOTO STAFF  (Photo credit should read STF/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images - Des renforts américains de la 4ème division d'infanterie ('Famous fourth') débarquent à Utah Beach, sur la côte normande, le 06 juin 1944, lors du débarquement allié en Normandie durant la seconde guerre mondiale. American troops of the 4th Infantery Division ('Famous Fourth') land on Utah Beach 06 June 1944 while Allied forces storm the Normandy beaches on D-Day. D-Day, 06 June 1944 is still one of the world's most gut-wrenching and consequential battles, as the Allied landing in Normandy led to the liberation of France which marked the turning point in the Western theater of World War II. (Photo credit should read STF/AFP/Getty Images)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AFP/Getty Images</em></div>Des renforts américains de la 4ème division d'infanterie ('Famous fourth') débarquent à Utah Beach, sur la côte normande, le 06 juin 1944, lors du débarquement allié en Normandie durant la seconde guerre mondiale.   American troops of the 4th Infantery Division ('Famous Fourth') land on Utah Beach 06 June 1944 while Allied forces storm the Normandy beaches on D-Day. D-Day, 06 June 1944 is still one of the world's most gut-wrenching and consequential battles, as the Allied landing in Normandy led to the liberation of France which marked the turning point in the Western theater of World War II. (Photo credit should read STF/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images - Des soldats américains à bord d'une barge sont sur le point de débarquer sur une plage, le 06 juin 1944, lors du débarquement allié en Normandie durant la seconde guerre mondiale. Au second plan, de la fumée provenant du bombardement naval soutenant l'opération. American assault troops in a landing craft huddle behind the shield 06 June 1944 approaching Utah Beach while Allied forces are storming the Normandy beaches on D-Day. D-Day, 06 June 1944 is still one of the world's most gut-wrenching and consequential battles, as the Allied landing in Normandy led to the liberation of France which marked the turning point in the Western theater of World War II. (Photo credit should read STF/AFP/Getty Images)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AFP/Getty Images</em></div>Des soldats américains à bord d'une barge sont sur le point de débarquer sur une plage, le 06 juin 1944, lors du débarquement allié en Normandie durant la seconde guerre mondiale. Au second plan, de la fumée provenant du bombardement naval soutenant l'opération.   American assault troops in a landing craft huddle behind the shield 06 June 1944 approaching Utah Beach while Allied forces are storming the Normandy beaches on D-Day. D-Day, 06 June 1944 is still one of the world's most gut-wrenching and consequential battles, as the Allied landing in Normandy led to the liberation of France which marked the turning point in the Western theater of World War II. (Photo credit should read STF/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images - A US helmet is pictured on the beach of Saint-Laurent sur Mer (Omaha Beach) western France, on June 6, 2011, during a ceremony to mark the 67th D-Day anniversary on June 6, 1944 allied landings in Normandy, then occupied by Nazi Germany. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AFP/Getty Images</em></div>A US helmet is pictured on the beach of Saint-Laurent sur Mer (Omaha Beach) western France, on June 6, 2011, during a ceremony to mark the 67th D-Day anniversary on June 6, 1944 allied landings in Normandy, then occupied by Nazi Germany. AFP  PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images - FRANCE - JUNE 6: American troops of the Allied Expeditionary Force advance, wading in the sea, under cover of tanks, to attack German fortifications on a Normandy beach, in Northern France, during the historic D-Day, 6 June 1944, during WW2. AFP PHOTO STAFF (Photo credit should read STF/AFP/Getty Images)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AFP/Getty Images</em></div>FRANCE - JUNE 6:  American troops of the Allied Expeditionary Force advance, wading in the sea, under cover of tanks, to attack German fortifications on a Normandy beach, in Northern France, during the historic D-Day, 6 June 1944, during WW2. AFP PHOTO STAFF  (Photo credit should read STF/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images - -, ENGLAND: The Allied commander US general Dwight D. Eisenhower gives instructions to paratroopers 06 June 1944 somewhere in England at the beginning of D-Day landing operations in Normandy. D-Day, 06 June 1944 is still one of the world's most gut-wrenching and consequential battles, as the Allied landing in Normandy led to the liberation of France which marked the turning point in the Western theater of Worl War II. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AFP/Getty Images</em></div>-, ENGLAND:  The Allied commander US general Dwight D. Eisenhower gives instructions to paratroopers 06 June 1944 somewhere in England at the beginning of D-Day landing operations in Normandy. D-Day, 06 June 1944 is still one of the world's most gut-wrenching and consequential battles, as the Allied landing in Normandy led to the liberation of France which marked the turning point in the Western theater of Worl War II. AFP PHOTO  (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images - UTAH BEACH, FRANCE: US soldiers gather around trucks disembarking from landing crafts shortly after D-Day 06 June 1944 after Allied forces stormed the Normandy beaches. D-Day, 06 June 1944 is still one of the world's most gut-wrenching and consequential battles, as the Allied landing in Normandy led to the liberation of France which marked the turning point in the Western theater of World War II. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AFP/Getty Images</em></div>UTAH BEACH, FRANCE:  US soldiers gather around trucks disembarking from landing crafts shortly after D-Day 06 June 1944 after Allied forces stormed the Normandy beaches. D-Day, 06 June 1944 is still one of the world's most gut-wrenching and consequential battles, as the Allied landing in Normandy led to the liberation of France which marked the turning point in the Western theater of World War II. AFP PHOTO   (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images - UTAH BEACH, FRANCE: British troops take positions on a beach during D-Day 06 June 1944 after Allied forces stormed the Normandy beaches. D-Day, 06 June 1944 is still one of the world's most gut-wrenching and consequential battles, as the Allied landing in Normandy led to the liberation of France which marked the turning point in the Western theater of World War II. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AFP/Getty Images</em></div>UTAH BEACH, FRANCE:  British troops take positions on a beach during D-Day 06 June 1944 after Allied forces stormed the Normandy beaches. D-Day, 06 June 1944 is still one of the world's most gut-wrenching and consequential battles, as the Allied landing in Normandy led to the liberation of France which marked the turning point in the Western theater of World War II. AFP PHOTO   (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review - A collection of medals earned by Warren Goss, 89, a World War II veteran and participant in D-Day, photographed at his Ohio Township home on Thursday, May 29, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review</em></div>A collection of medals earned by Warren Goss, 89, a World War II veteran and participant in D-Day, photographed at his Ohio Township home on Thursday, May 29, 2014.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review - An old photograph of Warren Goss, 89, a World War II veteran and participant in D-Day, photographed at his Ohio Township home on Thursday, May 29, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review</em></div>An old photograph of Warren Goss, 89, a World War II veteran and participant in D-Day, photographed at his Ohio Township home on Thursday, May 29, 2014.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review - Warren Goss, 89, a World War II veteran and participant in D-Day, sits for a portrait in his Ohio Township home on Thursday, May 29, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review</em></div>Warren Goss, 89, a World War II veteran and participant in D-Day, sits for a portrait in his Ohio Township home on Thursday, May 29, 2014.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review - Warren Goss, 89, a World War II veteran and participant in D-Day, sits for a portrait in his Ohio Township home on Thursday, May 29, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review</em></div>Warren Goss, 89, a World War II veteran and participant in D-Day, sits for a portrait in his Ohio Township home on Thursday, May 29, 2014.
- D-Day
D-Day
- Web site set up to honor Army Technician Fifth Grade John Joseph “Joe” Pinder Jr., a 1931 Butler High School grad who was awarded the Medal of Honor after he was killed on Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day, 1944.
Web site set up to honor Army Technician Fifth Grade John Joseph “Joe” Pinder Jr., a 1931 Butler High School grad who was awarded the Medal of Honor after he was killed on Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day, 1944.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Former army Pfc. Tulio Leonardi, who is now 90, is pictured before the D-Day invasion 70 years ago.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Former army Pfc. Tulio Leonardi, who is now 90, is pictured before the D-Day invasion 70 years ago.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review - Former army Pfc. Tulio Leonardi, 90, reminisces on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at his home in New Kensington his part in the push to take Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion 70 years ago.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Steph Chambers  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Former army Pfc. Tulio Leonardi, 90, reminisces on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at his home in New Kensington his part in the push to take Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion 70 years ago.
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Thursday, June 5, 2014, 11:03 p.m.
 

They made up the greatest armada the world has ever seen — nearly 156,000 troops, about 5,000 ships and more than 11,000 airplanes — all headed to a 50-mile stretch of beach in northern France. (Click on the highlighted text for the Trib's special presentation on D-Day.)

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower told Allied forces in World War II they had embarked on a “great and noble undertaking,” a “crusade,” but one in which the enemy would fight savagely.

“I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle,” he told them.

The first Allied troops to see action were British and American airborne divisions. They dropped behind landing sites to seize exits, capture key locations and block German counterattacks. Then assault troops hit the beaches.

More than 9,000 Allied troops were killed or wounded on D-Day, June 6, 1944 , according to Army figures, with the Americans on Omaha Beach suffering the heaviest losses — roughly 6,600 dead or wounded. But by June 7, the Allies established a foothold in France. Within a year, the Third Reich would be in ruins.

Seventy years later, survivors of that day still can hear artillery fire and see the bodies of their fallen comrades. They remember fear and bravery, courage and loss.

DID YOU KNOW?

The “D” in D-Day doesn't stand for anything. It's just a designation for whichever day a military operation begins.

Total Allied casualties are estimated at more than 9,000 for the day. Total German casualties are not known, but estimated at 4,000 to 9,000.

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower gave the go-ahead for the invasion with the words, “OK, let's go.” He wrote an apology to the American people in case it failed and put it in his wallet.

Twenty-seven war cemeteries hold the remains of more than 110,000 dead from both sides from D-Day through the end of August 1944.

John J. Pinder Jr. of Burgettstown, born in McKees Rocks and a graduate of Butler High School, posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his actions to deliver crucial communications equipment on Omaha Beach. He was killed by enemy fire.

Sources: McClatchy-Tribune; National World War II Museum; U.S. Army Center of Military History

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