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Vt. war veteran remembers D-Day - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. war veteran remembers D-Day

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RICHFORD, Vt. -

70 years ago from Friday thousands of young Americans battled the Nazis on the shores of France.

Those who are still living are in their 80's and 90's and still they remember that terrible day like it was yesterday.

On a perfect spring day in Richford, Lyle Hurtubise and his wife Dora are enjoying the company of their grandson.

A stark contrast to how his day started 70 years ago, a half a world away.

Lyle was a 19-year-old Army rifleman from Richford, part of the largest amphibious landing the world had ever seen. The morning started with the troops crossing the English Channel and ending up on the beaches of Normandy. It was the start of the Allied Invasion of Nazi occupied France.

"Never forget, yeah....never forget for that's for sure," said Lyle.

The enemy fired on Lyle's landing craft or LCI, even before he got to shore.

Lyle: You couldn't stick your head above, because it was higher, but you could hear the bullets.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Ricochets of the LCI?

Lyle: Oh yeah.

He and his fellow soldiers stopped just short of Utah Beach.

"I landed right in the water, oh hell yeah, over my head. I lost my rifle, got it, went down and got it," said Lyle.

Once on shore they confronted the enemy who were firing machine guns, picking off the American troops.

"There is so much going oh, you know what I mean, you are getting shot at and facing the enemy," said Lyle.

Lyle says for two days he was hunkered down shooting at the Germans. His only meal was a Hershey bar. Eventually the United States troops blew a hole in a seawall to get heavy machinery and tanks to land overwhelming the enemy, but not before more than 6,000 American casualties on the shores of Normandy.

"Those things you'll never forget no," said Lyle.

After the war, Lyle did try to forget. He rarely talked about that day, even to his wife.

Carroll: So Lyle never talked about this for the first 25 years of your marriage?

Dora Hurtubise, Lyle's wife: Oh never said a word.

But the couple decided to go back to Normandy for the 25th and 50th Anniversaries of the battle. A poignant moment was a trip to the American cemetery.

"You could just sit there and just, all these young boys," said Dora.

It was the longest day for Lyle, horrors he'll never forget. He hopes that even 70 years later, we will remember the men who died to preserve our freedoms.

"Never forget, yeah....never forget for that's for sure," said Lyle.

The Allies had no plan B if the invasion failed, making the victory in France the most important battle of the war.

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