Evansville, Ind. (WEHT) – A group of Tri-State students is learning about the invasion of Normandy firsthand; they were at the 75th anniversary observance in France.
President Trump spoke to the onlookers, “To more than 170 vets of the second world war who joins us today- you are among the very greatest Americans who will ever live.”
The world listened as President Trump and other leaders recalled the invasion of Normandy. Students from Castle High School didn’t listen to the speech on TV, they were at the celebration to hear it in person.
“We were waiting for the President to show up and the French President, the came and both gave really nice speeches they were really moving, I felt like the French President was really appreciative of what we’ve done” says Castle High School Junior Tyler Spurling.
On June 6, 1944, more than 150,000 allied troops invaded the northern coast of France, marking the start of France’s liberation from Nazi occupiers. It is remembered as a defining moment of World War II, for the students and staff of Castle High School seeing the beach, looking at the veterans who returned to Normandy, and hearing firsthand what happen brought tears to a few eyes.
“It was emotional to see the vets, they still had so much strength in them and their stories, to witness the United States and France come together to recognize the vets was so impactful, it was beautifully done by all the people involved” says educator Emily Garrett.
Codenamed operation Neptune, today referred to as D-Day, it was the largest seaborne invasion in history, German casualties have been estimated at 9,000 men. Allied casualties include 4,400 dead and more than 5500 still missing.
“I think what hit the kids really the most is seeing these men that were their age, when they were storming the beaches when they look out into the water and look at the sand and realize they can put themselves in those men’s shoes and then you see them up on stage and you put them together that changes you as a person” says Garrett.
“I just think it’s amazing and crazy that people my age were walking up and fighting their way up those hills and risking their lives. The fact that I can see where it all went down makes it so much more real” added Spurling.