Sixty-eight years ago, a brave U.S. Army major from Pennsylvania and his fellow soldiers parachuted into France on a mission to destroy four German 105mm artillery guns, one of many Allied operations on D-Day that would help bring an end to World War II. In total, the Allied effort involved 5,300 ships and 11,000 planes.

To mark the day, Time magazine has published some stunning rare color photos of American troops in World War II.

That soldier, Maj. Dick Winters, who died last year at 92, was honored today with a bronze statue in the Normandy village of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont.

Winters' exploits were the subject of the critically-acclaimed book and TV series, "Band of Brothers." The unveiling of the statue, with vintage war planes soaring through the air, was one of several events marking the anniversary of D-Day, the Associated Press reports.

Check out this slideshow of photos taken around the time of D-Day and take time to reflect on this historic day:

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  • World War II

    P38 fighter getting ready to fly a mission as the pilot arrives in a captured German vehicle shortly after the liberation of Paris by Allied troops August 26, 1944. (Frank Scherschel, Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images)

  • World War II

    US soldiers gather around trucks disembarking from landing crafts shortly after D-Day 06 June 1944 after Allied forces stormed the Normandy beaches. D-Day, 06 June 1944 is still one of the world's most gut-wrenching and consequential battles, as the Allied landing in Normandy led to the liberation of France which marked the turning point in the Western theater of World War II. (AFP / Getty Images)

  • World War II

    Operation maps showing the landings on D-Day, June 06, 1944, are installed on the monument in the U.S. cemetery at Saint Laurent dur Mer, Normandy. Omaha Beach, just below Saint Laurent, is indicated on the mapn by the central arrow. (AP)

  • General Eisenhower Giving Orders to Troops

    General Dwight Eisenhower is seen giving orders to American paratroopers in England.

  • World War II

    U.S. paratroopers fix their static lines before a jump before dawn over Normandy on D-Day June 6, 1944, in France. The decision to launch the airborne attack in darkness instead of waiting for first light was probably one of the few Allied missteps on June 6, and there was much to criticize both in the training and equipment given to paratroopers and glider-borne troops of the 82nd and 101st airborne divisions. Improvements were called for after the invasion; the hard-won knowledge would be used to advantage later. (Army Signal Corps / AP)

  • World War II

    A Coast Guard LCI, listing to port, pulls alongside a transport ship to evacuate her troops and wounded just before the craft capsized and sank during first invasion day on June 6, 1944. Helmeted troops, with full packs, are al to starboard side. Other ships of the huge flotilla that participated in the assault on the Normandy coast of France are in background. (AP)

  • World War II

    French commandos with bicycles, part of Allied troops, land on Normandy beaches (north-west of France), to come as reinforcements during the historic D-Day, 06 June 1944, during WW2. (AFP / Getty Images)

  • Landing On The Beaches Of Normandy

  • World War II

    US troops disembark from landing crafts during D-Day 06 June 1944 after Allied forces stormed the Normandy beaches. D-Day, 06 June 1944 is still one of the world's most gut-wrenching and consequential battles, as the Allied landing in Normandy led to the liberation of France which marked the turning point in the Western theater of World War II. (AFP / Getty Images)

  • World War II

    Canadian soldiers from 9th Brigade land 06 June 1944 with their bicycles at Juno Beach in Bernieres-sur-Mer during D-Day while Allied forces are storming the Normandy beaches. D-Day, 06 June 1944 is still one of the world's most gut-wrenching and consequential battles, as the Allied landing in Normandy led to the liberation of France which marked the turning point in the Western theater of World War II. (AFP / Getty Images)

  • World War II

    U.S. reinforcements wade through the surf as they land at Normandy in the days following the Allies' June 1944, D-Day invasion of occupied France. (AP)

  • World War II

    American troops advancing through a wood near Valognes, on the Cherbourg front. The track is littered with parts of bicyles and ironmongery June 27, 1944. (Fred Ramage, Keystone / Getty Images)

  • World War II

    RAF planes, towing gliders, are silhouetted in the light of dawn on D-Day over the English channel on June 13, 1944. Aircraft are headed for the Normandy coast of France. (AP)

  • World War II

    US Army troops seen marching through the streets of an embarkation port on the coast of England on their way over to Normandy, France June 6, 1944. (Keystone / Getty Images)

  • World War II

    US soldiers from the 2nd Ranger Battalion surround German prisoners 06 June 1944 on the Pointe du Hoc located on a cliff which overlooks Omaha Beach after Allied forces stormed the Normandy beaches during D-Day. Elements of the 2nd Ranger Battalion scaled the 100 foot cliff and seized the German artillery pieces that could have fired on the Allied forces landing at Omaha Beach. D-Day, 06 June 1944 is still one of the world's most gut-wrenching and consequential battles, as the Allied landing in Normandy led to the liberation of France which marked the turning point in the Western theater of World War II. (AFP / Getty Images)

  • World War II

    US soldiers surround a burning German tank in a Normandy village in June 1944 after Allied forces stormed the Normandy beaches during D-Day. D-Day, 06 June 1944 is still one of the world's most gut-wrenching and consequential battles, as the Allied landing in Normandy led to the liberation of France which marked the turning point in the Western theater of World War II. (AFP / Getty Images)

  • World War II

    US troops advancing to eradicate the last pockets of German resistance in Cherbourg July 1944. (Fred Ramage, Keystone / Getty Images)

  • World War II

    In France, British soldiers inspect three German 'Doodlebugs' (known as 'Goliath' in Germany) - remote controlled tanks, loaded with high explosives June 1944. (Fox Photos / Getty Images)

  • World War II

    An American paratrooper and an old French woman enjoy a joke together in the shell-torn streets of Sainte Mere Eglise, 20th June 1944. (Keystone / Getty Images)

  • World War II

    Crowds in Italy celebrate their liberation by the Allied forces towards the end of World War II June 1944. (Keystone / Getty Images)