Veterans of World War II visit Utah Beach to remember D-Day

AP Photo/Thomas Padilla

AP Photo/Thomas Padilla

Robert Gibson’s memories of D-Day was made even more vivid by the sight of Utah Beach’s expanse, its sand swirling in the breeze and the dazzling brightness.

The veteran, who was 99 years old, arrived there on June 6, 1944, along with more than 150,000 other Allied soldiers. He described the situation as “tough,” adding, “It was tough.”

Numerous World War II veterans, primarily Americans and Britons, gathered to Normandy this week to commemorate the 79th anniversary of D-Day, the pivotal assault that resulted in the liberation of France and Western Europe from Nazi rule. Gibson was one of these warriors.
He recalled, “Many casualties. To enter the beach, we came very close to running over bodies. Do not forget that we were just 18 or 19 years old. I’m happy I succeeded.

On D-Day, Gibson arrived on Utah Beach in the second wave, following the assault soldiers. He lived to battle on in Normandy and ultimately in Germany.

The first job of his battalion, he said, was “to guard an ammunition dump and the first night it got struck. You didn’t know where you were to go. Bullets were going all over the place. But we ducked it.”

On Utah Beach, Andrew Negra also touched down. It was the 18th of July 1944. This year, he visited again and was “amazed” by the kind greeting he received from the local French population.

Negra took part in combat activities up until April 1945, when his division entered eastern Germany.

On Sunday, more than 40 World War II veterans from the United States organized a wheelchair-accessible march through the streets of Sainte-Mere-Eglise, a little village where hundreds of paratroopers jumped on June 6, 1944, shortly after midnight.

People cheered and applauded while saying “Merci” and “Thank you.” Youngsters waved, and several families requested pictures with the guys.

Nothing is assured, Edwards said, given the ages of the warriors who fought more than seven decades ago. Therefore, we want to be sure that we do everything in our power to provide them with a fantastic and delightful experience.

After that, the veterans traveled to Sainte-Marie-du-Mont for a little ceremony at a monument overlooking Utah Beach that honors the U.S. Navy.

Some of the almost century-old people requested volunteers to walk with them down the long expanse of sand.

As he recalled what happened to his elder brother there—who nearly perished after his vehicle blew up during the landings—98-year-old Matthew Yacovino started to cry.

“The driver got killed and my brother fell on the beach unconscious,” Yacovino said with tears in the eyes.

In time, his brother became better. During the conflict, Yacovino himself worked as a combat air crewman.

Valérie and Lionel Draucourt, visitors from the Paris area who had gone to Normandy for historical reenactments of what had happened there, were dressed in khaki uniforms. They desired to show the veterans their respect.

“To be honest, I don’t think we can really comprehend what they went through. Lionel Draucourt stated, “It’s so large, it’s ridiculous; we don’t comprehend it.

Veterans were expected to participate in the 79th anniversary’s formal festivities on Tuesday, including those at the Normandy American Cemetery.

On D-Day, 7,000 boats brought Allied troops to the beaches with the codes Omaha, Utah, Juno, Sword, and Gold. 4,414 Allied soldiers, including 2,501 Americans, died on that one day. Over 5,000 people suffered injuries.

Senior writer at the Chicago Morning Star

Related Posts
Rose Bowl Parade canceled for first time since WWII
The Rose Bowl Parade is held once in a year on New Year’s Day in
Family cancels funeral of WWII veteran amid COVID-19 pandemic
The current COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the daily life of people all across the world.
Lawmakers advocating for the LGBT community
Two lawmakers belonging to the Republican Party are advocating for a ban on gay conversion
American Soldiers on High Alert as Iran Allies Join Israel-Hamas War
U.S. forces deployed around the Middle East are keeping an eye out for Iranian-backed militias
This winter, electricity costs should decline
Americans may be miffed to learn that power prices increased in September as they begin
Gas and housing costs increased in September
According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, housing and gas are becoming
Student loan payments have returned after three years
After being suspended for more than three years due to the coronavirus pandemic's economic impact,
Father and two small kids are among the 5 people killed when a truck transporting anhydrous ammonia crashes
Five more people are still in the hospital. When the semi-truck started spilling the potentially
Government-sponsored COVID testing are once again free
The government is once again offering four free COVID-19 exams to citizens as part of
House Republicans becoming more doubtful about Ukraine: “It’s not just the Freedom Caucus”
As Congress confronts its first test over America's engagement in the battle against Russia, doubt