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Philadelphia Honors World War II Vets At Independence Seaport Ceremony

(Harry Snyder, second from right, says he was "twenty-two, terrified, and determined" when he landed on Normandy beach 70 years ago.   Photo by Mike Dougherty)

(Harry Snyder, second from right, says he was “twenty-two, terrified, and determined” when he landed on Normandy beach 70 years ago. Photo by Mike Dougherty)

Mike Dougherty Mike Dougherty
Mike is a general assignment reporter and editor for KYW Newsradio...
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By Mike Dougherty

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A half-dozen World War II veterans today were presented pocket-size replicas of the Liberty Bell, as a thank-you from the City of Philadelphia for their service and sacrifice.

“War is hell. No doubt about it,” said Harry Snyder (second from right in photo), now 92 years old, recalling vividly what the beach at Normandy looked like 70 years ago.

Today, at the Independence Seaport Museum, Snyder said he was fortunate to land on the beach ten days after D-Day. The aftermath and destruction he saw is forever burned into his memory.

“The beach was full of broken, burnt-up tanks and trucks, half-tracks. No bodies.  All of the people that were dead were taken away, but there was all of this stuff littered on the beaches there.”

Snyder — a walking, talking history lesson — says he won’t stop telling the stories because he wants future generations to know what he and the other troops went through.

“I was not that frightened at first,” he recalls, “until I realized what was happening.”

He says they knew at the time they were fighting against true evil, and that’s what helped get him through it.