It’s no mystery why images of shocking, unremitting violence spring to mind when one hears the deceptively simple term, “D-Day.” We’ve all seen — in black-and-white photos, movies, old news reels — what happened on the beaches of Normandy as the Allies unleashed an historic assault against German defenses on June 6, 1944. But in rare, color photos taken before and after the invasion, LIFE photographer Frank Scherschel captured countless other, lesser-known scenes from the run-up to the onslaught and the heady weeks after: American troops training in small English towns; the French countryside, implausibly lush after the spectral landscape of the beachheads; the reception GIs enjoyed en route to the capital; the liberation of Paris. As presented here, in masterfully restored color on the anniversary of D-Day, Scherschel’s pictures feel at-once profoundly familiar and somehow utterly, vividly new.
Above: American combat engineers eat a meal atop boxes of ammunition stockpiled for the impending D-Day invasion, May 1944.
Strange Random D-Day Quote:
“There’s a graveyard in northern France where all the dead boys from D-Day are buried. The white crosses reach from one horizon to the other. I remember looking it over and thinking it was a forest of graves. But the rows were like this, dizzying, diagonal, perfectly straight, so after all it wasn’t a forest but an orchard of graves. Nothing to do with nature, unless you count human nature.” – Barbara Kingsolver (American Writer and Activist. b.1955)
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- D-Day: Today is 67th anniversary of WWII invasion at Normandy (pennlive.com)
- Music break: On this day…… (louisvillescuttlebutt.wordpress.com)
- D-Day hero returns to Normandy 67 years later (cbsnews.com)
- Paratroopers Commemorate D-Day Anniversary (waronterrornews.typepad.com)
- Remembering D-Day: June 6, 1944 (censorshipinamerica.com)
- D-Day June 6, 1944 (vcasny.org)
- D-Day Through the Archives: TIME’s Earliest Coverage of the Normandy Invasion (newsfeed.time.com)