The first brief communique was electrifying — "London, Tuesday, June 6, 1944: Under command of General Eisenhower, Allied naval forces, supported by strong air forces, began landing Allied armies this morning on the northern coast of France." The world caught its breath. Not since 1688 had an invading army crossed the English Channel, but now it was happening — Operation Overlord, D-Day, the all-out attack on Hitler's fortress Europe. The first assault wave hit the beaches of Normandy at 6:30 a.m. The place of the landing was the best-kept, most important secret of the war in Europe, and success depended on elaborate deception; but it was the individual valor of the men who went ashore in combination with the greatest marshaling of ships, planes, and guns ever in history that were decisive. Never was America's productive might so dramatically employed. The armada reached as far as the eye could see. It should never be forgotten that, of all events of the tumultuous 20th century, perhaps the most important was the defeat of the Nazi empire; and for a long and very dark time, for nearly five years, that outcome was by no means certain. D-Day was the turning point. It was Day 1 of the final drive to complete Allied victory.

Eisenhower gave the final "Order of the Day" that put the vast operation in motion in the early morning hours
of June 5, as meteorologists predicted a temporary break in the stormy weather.