70th Anniversary Of D-Day
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS - Many see the 70th anniversary of D-Day as a symbolism of freedom. These brave service members are being remembered for the chance they took seven decades ago.
On June 6th, 1944— 195,000 allied sailors, 160,000 allied troops, 12,000 aircraft, and 7,000 naval vessels began the largest invasion in history.
"The sea covered with boats, ships of all sizes and airplanes… you couldn't see the sky," Lionel Capoldo, with the U.S. Navy, said. "We had orders not to fire on any airplane that was flying towards France but any airplane flying the other way was fair game," he added.
Lionel Capoldo from Lake City vividly remembers his fellow service members landing from the air and through the sea to the Normandy Beaches. “The beginning of a liberation of Europe and they made a big thing out of it," Capoldo said.
The Wings of Dreams Aviation Museum in Keystone Heights, held a fly-in breakfast in their honor. Wings of Dreams has an extensive collection of historical things. One of them is this 1943 C-47, which was actually in Europe during D-Day.
Bob Ziller from Gainesville is another D-Day vet. He was a medic with the U.S. Army at the time and recalls helping two wounded men when a landmine killed 13 of his fellow soldiers. He doesn't know how he lived to see the last day of the invasion. "I went in on D-Day plus 52 which was the last day and when i put my foot on ground it was declared secure," Ziller said.
With tears on his eyes he also told me how he saw one thousand people put to death by Nazis. "There were bodies that were piled… into a building just about like this. On the rooftops people were trying to escape from the center and we walked among those bodies and that was the most chilling event," said Ziller.
The Battle of Normandy foreshadowed the end of Adolf Hitlers' plan for Nazi domination and helped with the defeat of Germany in World War II. Something Congressman Ted yoho says must never be forgotten. "Now if you don't remember your past you're going to repeat it. And to enjoy the liberties and freedoms we have in this county, we only experience that daily for the sacrifice the people did at D-Day," Yoho said.
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