Friday 6th June, marked 70 years to the day since Allied forces embarked on the largest amphibious assault ever to take place.
D-Day – as part of operation Overlord – saw thousands of British, American, and Canadian troops pour onto the beaches of Normandy to rid Europe of Nazi oppression.
In the 11 months that followed the landings, the Allies pushed relentlessly from their beachheads in France deep into Germany, before eventually the Nazi foothold was crushed.
Remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice
Across Europe, the tremendous bravery and self-sacrifice shown on D-Day – and in the days and months that followed – will be recognised once again, when the few remaining veterans from the operation make the short trip across the channel to pay their respects.
The beaches of Normandy are very different today, but the names they were given as part of Operation Overlord remain – Gold, Sword, Juno, Omaha and Utah.
Many of the men that landed that day failed to return, but their heroism will not be forgotten, even as the stories start to fade from living memory.
An armada of ships carrying tanks, guns and troops left British shores under wave after wave of aircraft – on a scale that is virtually unthinkable in modern times.
Why it’s so important not to forget
Learning from history is a vital part of modern life and it is why places such as the Normandy coast retain their popularity among people of all ages.
While it is virtually impossible to ever understand exactly what it was like in 1944 when troops first landed, the entire coastline is dotted with relics and museums that attempt to do just that.
The events occurring across Britain and France to mark the anniversary are testament to the efforts of all involved to ensure that the sacrifice made is never forgotten.
Battlefield and beach tours represent a fantastic opportunity to see where many men fought and to remember the true of cost of war.
Today, children paddle in the waters along much of the French cost, yet 70 years ago men were scrambling ashore under a hail of fire – places may change with history, but memories of the past do not.
Why visit France this year?
Exploring the Normandy coast can be done in plenty of ways and this summer represents an ideal opportunity for those wishing to remember one of history’s key dates.
Many of the museums and historical locations will feature exhibitions to mark the anniversary, while many heads of state from across Europe are also expected to gather there.
For anyone considering a trip to France this year, funding such a journey will need consideration.
Using a prepaid card when travelling abroad is a great way of ensuring a holiday stays within budget regardless of where you choose to visit, as only money on the card can be spent.
Other funds can always be added to the card should people require it while they are away though.
There is also additional protection if the card should be misplaced, as funds can be transferred to a new card with the minimum of fuss.