D-Day Remembrance in Latham "The Greatest Generation"

Jun 4, 2012

Veterans of the Iraq, Afghanistan, Persian Gulf, Vietnam and Korean wars joined with World War Two Veterans in Latham over the weekend for the second annual "D-Day Revisited: Day of Recognition and Remembrance" - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas was there and files this report

On June 6th, 1944, 160-thousand Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. A handful of survivors were in attendance at Saturday's gathering - some of them in their 90s had come from near and far to mark the anniversary.

John Edwards, is a World War II prisoner of war and a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars. He flew a B24 Liberator bomber during World War II; taken prisoner after he was shot down. He detailed his personal experiences.

Former National Guard Public Affairs Officer Paul Fanning spent 34 years in the Guard, and served in Afghanistan in 2008 before retiring - he now enjoys working with other veterans - Fanning says history cannot allow memories of those who served their country - even soldiers who have recently come home - to fade - he explained it is important vets tell and record their stories now.

U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, a retired Army colonel and a veteran of four tours in the Iraq war, was keynote speaker at the event. Gibson reflected on what he refers to as "one of the most difficult and challenging periods in World History."

John Edwards hopes that in the future nations will opt to talk and exhaust every avenue of bargaining before sending men and women off to the battlefield.

More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot- hold in Normandy -- Frank DeSorbo of Delmar is president of the D-Day Revisited Association. He started the group in 2010 when he noticed D-Day was fading in the public eye.

More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded on D-Day, so that more than 100,000 Soldiers could cross Europe in a march that would seal Hitler's defeat and the end of World War II in Europe.