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Independence Seaport Museum Hosts D-Day 70th Anniversary Commemoration

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PHILADELPHIA -

It's easy to forget that D-Day represents more than a day.

June 6, 1944 began the invasion that led to fierce battles between Allied and Nazi forces across France, Belgium, and ultimately Germany.

What happened in those days and weeks and months, literally changed the course of history.

Among those in the middle of it all, a now-92-year-old man from Lansdale.

70 years ago, Harry Snyder was an Army draftee who hit Omaha beach six days after the initial assault.

He remembers his reaction to the carnage left behind on the beach where so many Americans had been slaughtered.

"Apprehension. Not fear at the time. Just, 'what happened here?'" described Snyder.

Snyder, a member of a replacement crew, linked up with the Second Armored Division as it fought its way inland, in what became known as Operation Cobra.

"We got caught there in a battle with the Second Panzer division and I didn't think I was going to come out of that. We got a lot of vehicles shot up and a lot of guys got killed," explained Snyder.

"We traveled from the beaches, all the way through France, into Germany, Belgium, and Holland, came back for the Battle of the Bulge and went back again to Berlin," added Snyder.

Michael Axelrod was one of the hosts of the Seaport Museum D-Day event at which Snyder was a guest.

His take on their service?

"They saved the Western world. They saved democracy. They saved freedom and they saved liberty," said Axelrod

Snyder, like many World War II veterans, stoic when describing his war efforts.

Just another soldier, doing his job.

But he has a lingering question after all those firefights.

"I don't know why I wasn't killed," said Snyder

Later to become a father, grand-father and great-grandfather, Harry Snyder thinks he was spared for a reason, "I think that, somewhere along the way, in future generations, someone's going to come through, from my family, and do something great."

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