June 6th will mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
The Associated Press found survivors willing to recount their experiences.
On June 5, 1944, he (Dennis Trudeau) and the other paratroopers sat on the tarmac and joked about how they’d be in Paris by Christmas. But when they climbed into the plane, the chatter stopped.
Trudeau’s position was by the open jump door; he could look out across the vast array of planes and ships powering toward Normandy. Planes were strung out across the horizon.
He prayed: “I just kind of told the Lord, ‘Let me see one more sunrise.’”
And then, he jumped.
Trudeau landed in water up to his waist in a flooded field. In the dark, he rendezvoused with other paratroopers. They were on the way to their objective when friendly fire hit — an Air Force bomb.
Thrown into a ditch, Trudeau heard a dying friend nearby, calling out for his mother.
Within hours, combat would be over for Trudeau, as well. He was captured by German forces, and spent the duration in a prisoner-of-war camp. By the time the war was over he had gone from 135 pounds to about 85.