World War II Veterans Visit Normandy and Reflect on D-Day 80 Years Later

Jun 12, 2024 12:30 PM ET

The arrival in Normandy started with a heroes’ welcome by school children and World War II re-enactors in Houlgate followed by a visit to Le Memorial de Caen, a museum and war memorial commemorating World War II and the Battle of Normandy.

A visit to historic Omaha Beach provided time for the veterans to walk in the heroic path of those who stormed the beaches 80 years ago and lay a wreath to honor those who didn’t survive the beach landing. The afternoon was spent among the bunkers and bomb craters of Pointe du Hoc and honoring the U.S. Army Rangers who scaled the steep cliffs June 6, 1944.

On Utah Beach, the veterans paid tribute by each laying a single rose in honor of the fallen. A historic chateau served as the backdrop for a special lunch that was attended by senior military leaders from the Department of Defense and other dignitaries. That afternoon, the veterans were the primary focus in Sainte-Mère-Église as thousands gathered to cheer their arrival into the town made famous by the Airborne soldiers who parachuted into the area.

The events in Normandy concluded with a ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings at the Normandy American Cemetery, where more than 9,000 U.S. service members from World War II are laid to rest.

For these veterans, revisiting the hallowed grounds of D-Day is more than a trip down memory lane — it represents gratitude and remembrance. Watch U.S. Navy veteran Felix Maurizio, who was on a landing craft that deployed troops onto Omaha Beach on D-Day, return to the shores 80 years later.