June 6, 1944 all hell broke loose on the Normandy Beaches. Years of planning, thousands of men, hundred of thousands of tons of equipment all came together on that overcast morning as we began our final push to Berlin and the end of WWII. Two Thousand five hundred American soldiers willingly gave their lives that day in the name of freedom and democracy.
I was on a business trip in Amsterdam on June 10th 1984, waiting for my flight at Schipol Airport, Business Class Lounge. I noticed six or eight men with their wives talking, laughing and having a good time. They were obviously Americans and all appeared in their late fifties early sixties. I was curious, so I went over to the group and asked, “What’s the occaision fellas?”
“We came for the 40th celebration of the D-Day landings, we come every ten years,” a jocular, rosy faced man said.
I walked up to him and I said, “I’d like to shake your hand and thank you all for what you did that day. I was six years old at the time and I remember that day like it was yesterday.” They all got up and we all shook hands. “How old were you when you landed Sir?” I asked one of them.
“I was seventeen, lied about my age, had to get over here and kill the hun,” he proudly said; I smiled knowingly.
I thanked them all again, told them to enjoy themselves and went back to my seat. I kept watching them having so much fun and enjoying themselves I couldn’t help but think what marvelous people they were. I felt so proud to be an American that day. I’ll never forget.