June 6, 1944. Thousands of American and Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy into Nazi occupied France. It was the largest seaborne invasion in military history, and is famously remembered for shaping the course of WWII.
For most of us, D-Day was something we learned about in history class, or maybe from a grandparent. But for Herald Vifquain, it was a turning point.
70 years later, Vifquain, a Lincoln native, still remembers hearing the news.
"You're shocked to death. And it wasn't soon till I got a letter," he says.
A draft letter, assigning him to France, as a replacement. Vifquain says he wasn't sure what was ahead of him, but knew he had a job to do.
"The Germans were knocking the heck out of the countries and working their way across Europe," he says.
Normandy is now decorated with white crosses to mark the sacrifice of thousands of soldiers. Friday, President Barack Obama joined world leaders and veterans to honor them.
"Normandy. This was democracy's beach head," he said during a special ceremony.
Vifquain says he hopes America's young people remember what it took to get us where we are.
"There's an awful lot that went on, back there in those days, to make it possible for these youngsters to have what they have today."