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A look back at local, national and world events through the Deseret News archives.

I’ve always wondered about Utah Beach.

On June 6, 1944, in the middle of World War II, Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy in France on “D-Day,” beginning the liberation of German-occupied Western Europe.

Troops stormed the beaches of Omaha and Utah, more than 155,000 soldiers on that first day, according to historians. Europe was controlled and occupied by Nazi Germany, but by August of that year, northern France was under Allied control. By early 1945, the Germans were in retreat, hastening the end of World War II.

As part of the amphibious assault, codenamed “Operation Overlord,” over 326,000 soldiers, over 50,000 vehicles and up to 100,000 tons of equipment were moved as part of the military operation.

Newspaper coverage at the time was extensive (remember that an archived newspaper page provides a snapshot of the news available at the time) and appears optimistic from an American perspective.

But remember: More than 4,000 members of the American armed forces lost their lives that day on Utah Beach and Omaha Beach.

And what about the name Utah Beach?

According to military history students, the name Utah was probably chosen because it was easy to type, spell, and pronounce over the radio.

“Utah Beach was probably named by accident”

Here are more archived Deseret News reports on the D-Day invasion, often told from the perspective and experiences of the participants:

“D-Day 1944: 3 Utahns share vivid memories”

“The 24 hours of D-Day changed the 20th century and Europe forever”

“This is how the Deseret News reported on D-Day when it happened”

“On the 76th anniversary, few mourn the victims of D-Day in Normandy”

“Opinion: Seeing the victims of D-Day through the eyes of a veteran”

“He may not remember today’s breakfast, but this Utah veteran vividly remembers the landing at Utah Beach”

“In Their Own Words: The Story of D-Day Told by the Veterans Who Lived It”

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