Saturday, June 6, 2009

D-Day anniversary

President Barack Obama is paying tribute to D-Day veterans, including one who visited the Normandy cemetery on the eve of the invasion's 65th anniversary and then died.
Obama on Saturday remembered Jim Norene (nor-EEN), a member of the 101st Airborne who died in his sleep after visiting the American cemetery a day earlier. Obama says Norene was ill when he left his home and knew he might not make it back to the United States.
Obama says Norene returned to Normandy for the same reason so many visit: to remember the sacrifices that helped turn the tide against the Nazis and win World War II.
Obama also mentioned his grandfather, Stanley Dunham, who arrived at Normandy six weeks after D-Day, and his great-uncle who liberated a Nazi concentration camp.
D-Day Veterans return to Normandy
An 88-year-old D-Day veteran who was one of eight brothers to fight during World War II has returned to the site of the Normandy landings.
Len Smith, of Druids Heath, Birmingham, was one of 16 children and joined the Army aged 18.
His brothers were also survivors of the war.
He said he was determined to go back for the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings but said he feared it would be the last time he would go back.
He said: "I can never understand why I managed to drive straight up on the beach.
"Nothing on earth could have trained you for the experience that you were witnessing with your own eyes and ears."
He added: "I've read lots of stories and some of these stories are really glossy, you know, about all the guts and thunder and that, but I don't like that side of it at all."

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