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February 1998

D-Day: What It Cost

Saving Private Ryan, Stephen Spielberg's searing and absorbing account of American soldiers battling to gain a foothold on the French coast in 1944, immediately rekindled interest in the greatest of all amphibious operations—and in touring the sites where it took place.
The letters below were first published in American Heritage on the fiftieth anniversary of the invasion. They are so affecting a reflection of that momentous time that they became a part of the commemoration, and President Clinton read aloud from them during the anniversary ceremonies in Normandy.