ON THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE INVASION OF NORMANDY, A D-DAY VETERAN DESCRIBES THE LANDING AT OMAHA BEACH
On June 6, 1944, more than 150,000 U.S., Canadian and British troops invaded Normandy to liberate France from the occupying Nazi forces. Some 130,000 arrived by boat, ferried to the beaches in light landing craft under heavy fire. The Normandy landings — code-named Operation Neptune and commonly known as D-Day — became the largest seaborne invasion in history.
Most of the men made the trip once; Frank DeVita of the U.S. Coast Guard survived the first wave and returned to Omaha Beach 14 times. Seventy-five years later, DeVita, a member of Our Lady of the Hills Council 5959 in Martinsville, N.J., tells the harrowing story of that day.
Brooklyn native Frank DeVita was 19 when he participated in the D-Day invasion. For the next 70 years, he did not speak about his wartime experience, even to his wife and children. Then, in 2014, on the occasion of receiving the French Legion of Honor medal — the highest award given by the French government — he opened up in an NBC interview with Tom Brokaw conducted on Omaha Beach.
DeVita returns to Normandy this month with family and friends to mark the 75th anniversary of one of the most pivotal events in modern history.
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