On 66th anniversary, D-Day continues to resonate

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As the nation today marks the 66th anniversary of what many historians call the most complex amphibious assault in history -- the Allied D-Day invasion of Normandy, France -- debate simmers among policymakers and military analysts over whether the United States should maintain its ability to conduct such a campaign.

The Navy and Marines on Friday completed the largest amphibious-training exercise since 9/11 on the West Coast. Military members, scholars and historians say those who participated in D-Day hold a special place in history for their role in a war that united the country for a common purpose. The D-Day campaign led to Germany's surrender in World War II less than a year later, on May 7, 1945.

Yet, some applaud Defense Secretary Robert Gates' contention that such military skills might be irrelevant today.

"We have to take a hard look at where it would be necessary or sensible to launch another major amphibious landing again, especially as advances in anti-ship systems keep pushing the potential launch point further from shore," Gates said last month in a speech to the Navy League in Maryland....

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