A look back at local, national and world events through Deseret News archives.

I have always wondered about Utah Beach.

On June 6, 1944, in the heat of World War II, Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, on “D-Day” as they began the liberation of German-occupied Western Europe.

Troops stormed onto the beaches of Omaha and Utah, more than 155,000 soldiers that first day, per historians. Europe was controlled and occupied by Nazi Germany, but by August of that year, northern France was in Allied control. By early 1945, the Germans were in retreat, hastening the end of World War II.

The amphibious assault, with Operation Overlord as its code name, moved more than 326,000 troops, more than 50,000 vehicles and as much as 100,000 tons of equipment in the military operation.

Newspaper coverage at the time was extensive — remembering that an archived newspaper page offers a snapshot of the news available at the time — and appears upbeat from the American point of view.

But remember, more than 4,000 American military members gave their lives that day, on Utah Beach and Omaha Beach.

Now about the name Utah Beach?

Per students of military history about the choice of the word Utah, the name was likely used because it was easy to type and spell and pronounce over the radio.

Utah Beach likely named at random”

Here are additional Deseret News archived stories of the D-Day invasion, often shared through the eyes and experiences of participants:

D-Day 1944: 3 Utahns share vivid memories”

D-Day’s 24 hours changed 20th century, and Europe, forever

Here’s how the Deseret News covered D-Day as it happened

On 76th anniversary, few to mourn the D-Day dead in Normandy

Opinion: Seeing the sacrifices of D-Day through veteran eyes

He might not recall today’s breakfast, but this Utah vet vividly recalls landing on Utah Beach

In their own words: The story of D-Day as told by the veterans who lived it

Deseret News timeline
We were there: See Deseret News front pages from 45 big moments in Utah, world history