It’s been 75 years since allied troops invaded Normandy, France to fight Nazi Germany in World War II. This invasion, D-Day, was the largest amphibious invasion in history. More than 13,000 aircraft and 5,000 ships supported the operation. The exact number of casualties is not known. It is estimated that approximately 10,000 Allied soldiers were killed, wounded and or went missing in action. Most of them, 6,603, were Americans.
Lincoln County is home to numerous WWII veterans, some of which belong to the Last Man’s Club, which was organized 11 years ago by Linda Hoyle. They meet once a month at Ingles.
On Wednesday, three WWII veterans were able to meet to celebrate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Last Man’s Club’s member Bob Jetton, who did fight during the invasion, was unable to attend. As they chatted, four members of the North Carolina National Guard stopped in to thank these members of what is often called the greatest generation for their service.
These Lincoln County WWII veterans were often in their teens when they fought and are all now in their 90s. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 348 American World War II veterans are dying every day. Their memories of this war, often not willingly or, as they age, able to be shared, are dying with them.