D-Day, Redux

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They take to their mission with gusto, flinging themselves across the sand, scaling sea walls, and leaping out of World War II-era planes. They've come from far afield -- from Poland, the Czech Republic, Britain, Canada, even from as far away as Texas -- and they will take the beaches of Normandy -- again.

These are the D-Day reenactors: military and history enthusiasts who have come to coastal France to relive one of the most pivotal -- and bloody -- moments in 20th-century history. Organizers estimate approximately 500 re-enactors have participated so far in the events leading up to June 6, which will mark the 70th anniversary of the attack known as Operation Overlord, which historians credit for helping to change the course of World War II. About 1,800 veterans attended the celebration.

On June 6, 1944, over 156,000 allied troops, consisting mainly of U.S. and British soldiers, began the crawl, under heavy fire, across the beaches of German-occupied France under the command of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. He would proclaim after the invasion, "The tide has turned. The free men of the world are marching together to victory!" -- a victory that, seven decades on, still manages to capture the imagination.

Here, enthusiasts dressed in Allied forces uniforms watch as World War II-era C-47 planes fly overhead during a planned parachute drop on June 4, at Carentan, France.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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Men dressed as soldiers simulate an army operation as they visit Pointe du Hoc on May 31 in Cricqueville-en-Bessin, northwestern France, site of a former German observation post during World War II.

Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

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French teenagers relax on the promenade of Arromanche next to Gold Beach as preparations for the 70th anniversary of D-Day are finalized on June 2 in Arromanches-les-Bains, France.

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

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Re-enactors practice the taking of Omaha Beach on June 3, in Vierville-sur-Mer, France.

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

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Siblings Faith, Liberty, Jubilee, and Joshua Phillips, from San Antonio, Texas, attend a planned parachute drop on June 4, at Carentan, France.

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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A Douglas C-47 plane flies over Sword Beach in Ouistreham, northern France, on June 5.

DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images

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Military enthusiast Ben Oostra, from the Netherlands, wears a replica uniform of a U.S. paratrooper in 101st Airborne in Arromanches, France, on June 3.

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

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Thomas Kerry, from the Czech Republic, wears a replica uniform of an American paratrooper of the 82nd Airborne Division in Arromanches, France, on June 3.

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

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Helen Elford, from the United Kingdom, wears a replica uniform of a member of the American Women's Army Corps in Arromanches, France, on June 3.

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

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Italian and British military enthusiasts watch from Utah Beach as aircraft fly past on June 4, near Saint Marie du Mont, France.

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

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Children dressed as soldiers at Pointe du Hoc on May 31, in Cricqueville-en-Bessin, northwestern France.

Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

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A Polish enthusiast dressed as a World War II-era U.S. soldier sits in a vintage military jeep in Arromanches-les-Bains, northwestern France, on June 4.

Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

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Re-enactors dressed as U.S. soldiers stand at a makeshift counter selling supplies as they take part in events in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, northwestern France, on June 2.

Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

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A group of re-enactors from Spain practice scaling a seawall on the Avenue de la Liberation that runs parallel to Omaha Beach on June 2, in Vierville, France.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

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A man dressed as a World War II soldier walks with a bicycle along Juno Beach, on June 6 in Courseulles-sur-Mer, France.

Thomas Bregardis/AFP/Getty Images

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