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The War: Companion Guide for the PBS Documentary Film Series

Episode Four: Pride of Our Nation

Sized for restricted viewing - soldiers on the beach on D-Day
Walter Rosenblum, photographer. D-Day Rescue, Omaha Beach. Photograph shows American soldiers on Omaha Beach recovering the dead after the D-Day invasion of France. 1944. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

June 1944 - August 1944

With much of Italy under Allied control, the Allies launched a second and much more dramatic invasion of Europe on June 6, 1944 on the beaches of Normandy, France. D-Day was the war’s true turning point, the beginning of a sustained retreat by German armed forces across France, Belgium, Holland, and back into the Fatherland. The Liberation of Paris in August gave many in uniform and back in the States hope that the war in Europe might be over by the end of the year.

Halfway around the world, Saipan was the new flashpoint, as the U.S. and Japan were locked in a three-week death struggle for a piece of land only 14 miles long and a few miles wide. Horrified American soldiers watched helplessly as hundreds of civilians, wrongly warned of American barbarity by the retreating Japanese, committed suicide by jumping off the island’s cliffs.


Image for Jesse A. Beazley

"And I thought of my home, and my mom, and my dog, and my friends..."

Jesse A. Beazley's story

Image of Charles Luther Blount

"Anybody that wasn't scared or apprehensive at the time, they wasn't telling the truth..."

Charles Luther Blount's story

Image of Lawrence W. Kubale, Sr.

"When [Patton] found out we were glider pilots, he said anybody would be a damn fool to do that..."

Lawrence W. Kubale, Sr.'s story

Image of Arch Joseph Lewis, Jr.

"And so the gate creaked, and here they come, and I felt like they could hear my heartbeat..."

Arch Joseph Lewis, Jr.'s story

Image of Charles H. Neighbor

"... I was able to think it all out and remember from day to day what I had done..."

Charles H. Neighbor's story

Philip A. Russell's story

"... They were going to drop us where the fighting was and let us make up our mind."

Philip A. Russell's story

John Robert Slaughter's story

"I took my raincoat off to spread that out to clean my rifle, and my raincoat was full of bullet holes..."

John Robert Slaughter's story



Image of Warren Gordon Beavers

"Found where they were at and we had about 10 or 12 grenades apiece..."

Warren Gordon Beavers' story

Image of Norman Lee Brown

"... You know, nightmares and stuff come back on you from what you hear and see."

Norman Lee Brown's story

Image of William J. Dolan

"There was little use for a dentist on the battlefield."

William J. Dolan's story

Image of John Raymond Getzel

"... I think if maybe we had become frightened we would have shot each other."

John Raymond Getzel's story

Image of Keith Morrison Little

"My weapon was my language, and that language probably saved countless lives."

Keith M. Little's story

Image of Charles D. Mason

"They rescued the Jap pilot and he spoke English. They asked him what he thought of our defenses..."

Charles D. Mason's story