Local WWII veterans reflect on the 74th anniversary of D-Day

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Today marks the 74th anniversary of D-day, it’s the largest invasion by air, land and sea in history. United States troops invaded the beaches of Normandy, France. More than 4,000 Allied soldiers died during the invasion.

With many World War II veterans passing away, KAKE News reached out to some local vets who share what D-Day means to them.

“War is hell.”

Army Veteran Robert “Bob” Rogers like many WWII Vets will agree was a difficult time. The United State officially entered WWII 74 years ago on what’s known as D-Day.

Rogers didn’t land on the beaches of Normandy during the invasion. His Army unit was attached to the 101st Airborne Division. He watched those men leave but his unit stayed back in England when the invasion took place.  He said, “you guys are going to stay here and guard the field because we think the Germans will come in and attack the planes.”

The two-time Purple Heart Veteran says when the invasion happened, he was sad hearing of the thousands that lost their lives just on that day. He said, “when you see these guys laying around there and when I was in the hospital, I was there 3 months. I saw some guys with some awful, bad wounds. I saw guys that had lost limbs.”

Army Air Corp veteran Harry Stater entered WWII just three months after the invasion in Normandy. Stater spent much of the war in a B-24 plane as a gunner.  He said, “you could see the flak all around us ‘ya and if one of it hit ya that was it.”

Stater had 23 bombing missions in Europe during WWII. During one of those missions his plane was hit and he crash-landed in Yugoslavia.  He said, “I don't know if it was luck or if someone was looking out for us.”

Stater say, "he didn't like war much but he'll always remember D-Day, “there will always be a special meaning for it…when you see all the people that are killed.”

Rogers has sand from Normandy displayed on a drawer, it's a reminder of the sacrifices that were made 74-years ago. He said, “we won the war and I'm glad I wouldn't want to go back in and I wouldn't want to fight it again.”

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