By Jay Lloyd
NORMANDY, France (CBS) — It’s a solemn getaway this week for thousands of travelers heading for the Normandy beaches, in France. They are there to commemorate Friday’s 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, that broke Hitler’s wall around Europe.
The Omaha Beach cemetery (top photo) will host veterans and families of the men who died on the Normandy coast while launching the invasion that would lead to Berlin.
Twenty years ago, I gathered the memories of local soldiers, sailors, and airmen who were there among three million others, a vast armada, and 2,300 war planes:
(Sailor:) “There were clouds of planes going over — one after another.”
(Bomber pilot:) “We were at 14,000 feet and the fighters that we saw were being occupied by our own fighters at six to eight thousand feet.”
(Soldier:) “You had to wade ashore. And our job was to remove the mines.”
Seventy years after that unrivaled invasion, the beaches of Normandy are still a magnet for visitors wishing to honor the sacrifices made by the young men and women who collectively became known as “The Greatest Generation.”