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D-Day 70th Anniversary
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Then and Now: Photographer Revisits D-Day Sites

A photographer visited the sites where pictures were taken during the 1944 D-Day invasion to capture them as they appear today.

. Left: A crashed U.S. fighter plane is seen on the waterfront some time after Canadian forces came ashore on a Juno Beach D-Day landing zone in Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, France, in June 1944.

Right: Tourists enjoy the sunshine on the former Juno Beach D-Day landing zone, where Canadian forces came ashore, in Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer on Aug. 23, 2013. British and Canadian troops battled reinforced German troops holding the area around Caen for about two months following the D-Day landings in Normandy in 1944.

On June 6, 1944, allied soldiers descended on the beaches of Normandy for D-Day - an operation that turned the tide of World War II against the Nazis, marking the beginning of the end of the conflict. Today, as many around the world prepare to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the landings, pictures of Normandy's now-touristy beaches stand in stark contrast to images taken around the time of the invasion.

But while the landscape has changed, the memory of the momentous event lives on. Reuters photographer Chris Helgren compiled a series of archive pictures taken during the 1944 invasion and then went back to the same places, to photograph them as they appear today. National Archives of Canada; Chris Helgren / Reuters

. Left: Canadian troops patrol along the destroyed Rue Saint-Pierre after German forces were dislodged from Caen in July 1944. British and Canadian troops battled reinforced German forces holding the area around Caen for about two months following the D-Day landings in Normandy.

Right: Shoppers walk along the rebuilt Rue Saint-Pierre, which was destroyed following the D-Day landings, in Caen on Aug. 23, 2013. National Archives of Canada; Chris Helgren / Reuters

. Left: A Cromwell tank leads a British Army column from the 4th County of London Yeomanry, 7th Armoured Division, inland from Gold Beach after landing on D-Day in Ver-sur-Mer on June 6, 1944 .

Left: A couple walk inland from the former D-Day landing zone of Gold Beach where British forces came ashore in 1944, in Ver-sur-Mer on Aug. 23, 2013. National Archives of Canada; Chris Helgren / Reuters

. Right: U.S. Army troops make a battle plan in a farmyard amid cattle, which were killed by artillery bursts, near the D-Day landing zone of Utah Beach in Les Dunes de Varreville on June 6, 1944.

Right: Farmer Raymond Bertot, who was 19 when allied troops came ashore in 1944, poses on his property near the former D-Day landing zone of Utah Beach in Les Dunes de Varreville on Aug. 21, 2013. U.S. National Archives; Chris Helgren / Reuters

. Left: U.S. Army reinforcements march up a hill past a German bunker overlooking Omaha Beach after the D-Day landings near Colleville sur Mer on June 18, 1944.

Right: Youths hike up a hill past an old German bunker overlooking the former D-Day landing zone of Omaha Beach near Colleville sur Mer on Aug. 23, 2013. U.S. National Archives; Chris Helgren / Reuters

. Left: German prisoners of war captured after the D-Day landings in Normandy are guarded by U.S. troops at a camp in Nonant-le-Pin on Aug. 21, 1944.

Right: A farm field remains where German prisoners of war were interned following the D-Day landings in Normandy in Nonant-le-Pin on Aug. 24, 3013. U.S. National Archives; Chris Helgren / Reuters

. Left: German prisoners of war march along the Juno Beach landing area to a ship taking them to England, after they were captured by Canadian troops at Bernieres Sur Mer on June 6, 1944.

Right: A tourist sunbathes on a former Juno Beach landing area where Canadian troops came ashore on D-Day at Bernieres Sur Mer on Aug. 23, 2013. Ken Bell/National Archives of Canada; Chris Helgren / Reuters

. Left: U.S. reinforcements land on Omaha beach during the Normandy D-Day landings near Vierville sur Mer on June 6, 1944.

Right: Youths enjoy the sunshine on the former D-Day landing zone of Omaha beach near Vierville sur Mer on Aug. 23, 2013. U.S .National Archives; Chris Helgren / Reuters

. Right: U.S. troops wade ashore from a Coast Guard landing craft at Omaha Beach during the Normandy D-Day landings near Vierville sur Mer on June 6, 1944.

Right: Tourists take part in a land sailing class on the former D-Day landing zone of Omaha beach near Vierville sur Mer on Aug. 22, 2013. Robert F. Sargent/US National Archives; Chris Helgren / Reuters

. Left: The 2nd Battalion U.S. Army Rangers, tasked with capturing the German heavy coastal defence battery at Pointe du Hoc, west of the D-Day landing zone, march to their landing craft in Weymouth, England, on June 5, 1944.

Right: Tourists walk along the beachfront in the Dorset holiday town of Weymouth, England, on July 13, 2013. The port was the departure point for thousands of Allied troops who took part in the D-Day landings. U.S. National Archives; Chris Helgren / Reuters

. Left: A U.S. flag lies as a marker on a destroyed bunker two days after the strategic site overlooking D-Day beaches was captured by U.S. Army Rangers at Pointe du Hoc, France, on June 8, 1944. The gun emplacement was captured by seaborne Rangers, who arrived in the early hours to find that the German artillery it housed had been moved inland. The guns were later located and destroyed.

Right: An Italian tourist views a bunker at a strategic site overlooking the D-Day beaches which had been captured by U.S. Army Rangers at Pointe du Hoc on Aug. 22, 2013. U.S. National Archives; Chris Helgren / Reuters