Local WW II veterans remember D-Day on 70th Anniversary - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Local WW II veterans remember D-Day on 70th Anniversary

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Friday was the 70th anniversary of D-Day. On June 6, 1944 allied forces invaded France to make their way across Europe and eventually defeat Adolf Hitler.

The Bob Bullock museum held a free screening of "D-Day 3D: Normandy 1944" Friday for veterans in honor of the men and women who lost their lives during the attack. At least four local veterans who were there on D-Day when troops stormed the beaches of Normandy attended the screening.

The I-Max 3D movie is narrated by Tom Brokaw and shows how the invasion in Normandy changed the course of World War II.

After the screening two World War II vets answered questions about their memories from D-Day.

They said being able to tell the story 70 years later is special, but the most important thing to remember is those who lost their lives.

"I just want people to remember the sacrifices that our buddies made to help not only our country, but the rest of the world. They're free now," said veteran Johnnie Marino.

Earlier Friday at the Capitol building World War II vets met for lunch and talked about their experience in Normandy. Robert Mitchell Smouse said he still remembers D-Day very clearly.

"I was on the insidious force at the time taking the troops in," said Smouse.

About 160,000 allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy during the World War II D-Day invasion.

More than 9,000 allied soldiers were either killed or wounded during the attack. Smouse said he hopes it's a day that will never be forgotten.

"I'd like them to think about the people who sacrificed their lives over there," said Smouse.

Honor Flight Austin Chairman Allen Bergeron said there isn't much time left to thank World War II vets.

"We know that five to seven years from now they won't be here. They're dying at about 600 per day," said Bergeron.

That makes meeting these veterans even more special for Bergeron.

"It's an honor to shake their hand and look them in the eye and you can tell what they've been through," Bergeron said.

When it comes to what Smouse has been through, he said he has no regrets.

"I would do it again and I hope that they would too," said Smouse.

During the luncheon there was also a proclamation from Mayor Lee Leffingwell that commemorated D-Day. A copy was given to each World War II veteran at the event.

"We wanted to take this day, June 6, to let them know that we didn't forget," said Bergeron.

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