June 6, 1944 marks the date of the Allied invasion of Normandy to liberate France from Nazi occupation. It was originally scheduled to take place on June 5 but was postponed due to bad weather. Approximately 156,000 Allied troops participated in the expedition and roughly 4,400 of them died, although accurate records were hard to maintain. This operation led to the liberation of Paris and victory in Europe. One of my students recently met a survivor of one of the camps in Europe who immigrated to the United States, enlisted in the US armed forces and returned to Europe as one of those Jour J combattants.
Le jour J (luh zjoor zjee) is the French equivalent of D-Day. Jour means “day” and the J just refers to jour again. The expression can also apply to the date of any important event, like a wedding, graduation, or the day you’re leaving for a trip to Paris. Tomorrow, a jour J for me will be the end of this school year, which marks the conclusion of my time at the school where I’ve taught French for the past eight years. Another will be the first day of school in September when I start my new teaching job in Princeton.
- Battle of Normandy photographs published online (normandyddayblog.wordpress.com)
- The Greatest Story Often Told: Rick Atkinson’s Guns at Last Light (historynet.com)
- 100 Rare Photographs of the Battle of Normandy 1944 – Part 2 (webodysseum.com)