on Fortress Europe at five beaches along a 50-mile front. Many of the 156,000 men who landed on D-Day waded ashore from American-made Higgins boats (bottom right) identical to the one on permanent display at Utah Beach in the U.S. sector (Utah Beach Museum at Ste-Marie-du-Mont, 011-33-2-33-71-53-35).

A threat to Omaha and Gold beaches, the German Longues Battery (right center) exchanged fire with at least five ships on June 6 before its 120-man garrison was taken prisoner on June 7. At Arromanches near Gold Beach (top right), there are remnants of the ingenious Mulberry Harbor built by the British to move men and supplies ashore.

The Pacific War

Nearly all of eastern Asia and the Pacific were recon­structed by the "Typhoon of Steel" - a phrase popularly used to describe the Battle of Okinawa but applicable on a wider scale - that swept across the region in the '30s and '40s. It's now possible to stand on the spot where the sprawling conflict began and ended for Americans. Anchored in Pearl Harbor (the fiery attack there at right), just beyond the USS Arizona Memorial, is the USS Missouri (bottom right), the mightiest U.S. Navy battleship ever built. On its teak deck, the surrender document ending WWII was signed in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. (Battleship Missouri Memorial, 808-973-2494)

No place exemplified loss and redemption like the Philippines. Site of Filipino and American tragedies - the Bataan Death March, surrender of Corregidor - the island archipelago was the stage for a triumphant American return promised in 1942 by U.S. Army General Douglas MacArthur and delivered on October 20, 1944. At the village of Palo, Leyte, the larger-than-life monument to MacArthur and his landing party (right center) recalls the strong "Fil-Am" bond forged during the war.