WWII D-Day remembered 74 years later

Posted at 10:17 PM, Jun 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-07 00:17:55-04

Wednesday marked the 74th anniversary of World War II’s pivotal D-Day invasion.

On June 6, 1944, Allied forces stormed the beaches at Normandy to push into Europe.

It was a key turning point  against Nazi troops.

Historians call D-Day the beginning of the end of the war.

Europe had been at war for nearly half a decade, with the U.S. in the fight for two and a half years.

The war would continue for another year

D-Day remains the largest amphibious invasion in history.

Upwards of 160,000 troops invaded Europe, more than half of them Americans.

It’s estimated that roughly 10,000 Allied troops were killed, wounded, or went missing in action on just one day.

Locally the importance of the D-Day invasion may not have been initially completely understood.

"It was kind of seen as another step that was taken of what was going to be a large event in American history,” Elisabeth DeGrenier, community historian at the Western Heritage Center.  “It’s so important to look at these momentous occasions and see how they not only impacted us afterward, but what was kind of the leadup that resulted in this culmination, this huge day of D-Day."

DeGrenier said Billings was involved with the war effort with the building of tank tow trucks.

There was also a POW camp that was located near the Sugar factory on the city’s south side.