By Paul Kurtz
SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. (CBS) – The memories of D-Day are still fresh for Al Giandomenico, a 90-year-old Southampton, Bucks County veteran who took part in the liberation of France. The Philadelphia native was just 20 when the allied invasion began. He was a G.I. with the 37th Infantry and stationed in Southern England at the time.
“Early in the morning, things were pretty quiet and then all of a sudden we noticed airplanes. Everything is going southeast as far as you can see. Planes and planes and planes. We said, ‘we think this is it.’”
Ten days later, his division landed on Utah Beach, part of the massive force that went into Normandy in the weeks after the initial bloody battle.
He remembers the greeting they received from war-weary French citizens: “We were treated royally. They brought out the wine. We shared our candy and cigarettes with them and the children. Everywhere we went (there were) American flags and so forth.”
His division eventually hooked up with General Patton on the road to Berlin.
Giandomenico returned to Southern France just once in 1997, and received a hero’s welcome.
“They came out with flowers. It chokes me up now. Flowers, wine. They brought us into their homes. The little guys in France have not forgotten. Not to this day.”