An ever-shrinking number of American veterans will stand on Normandy’s beaches on June 6 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the massive World War II invasion to help liberate France from Nazi Germany.
On June 6 in 1944, around 160,000 Allied troops came ashore in history’s largest amphibious operation. More than 4,000 Allied forces were killed that day. Nearly 500,000 were killed on both sides by the time the Allies liberated Paris in August 1944.
Of the 73,000 Americans who took part on D-Day, just 39 are scheduled to be in France for the anniversary this year, according to the Associated Press. Many will salute their deceased comrades from wheelchairs.
According to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 16 million Americans served in World War II. In 2018, only 496,777 of the veterans were alive.
It is unclear how many D-Day veterans are alive today. The survivors are now in their 90s or 100s.