By Alexandria Bennett Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News) – Today is a special day for veterans all across the world. It’s the 75th anniversary of D-Day, where many veterans were killed during an invasion of Normandy during Operation Overlord during World War II.
The Syracuse Vet Center had its first D-Day Anniversary Celebration and invited veterans and their families to be recognized and honored for their years of service. Richard Purcell, Syracuse Vet Center outreach coordinator, said they’re the true heroes.
“We wanted to really recognize them for their sacrifices,” Purcell said. “They’re the reason we have the freedoms that we have today.”
The invasion was one of the largest in military history. William Camperlino is a veteran who served during World War II. Camperlino shared that while he was serving, it seemed like just another job. It wasn’t until he started to reflect afterwards on what happened that it all became much more dramatic.
“I had buddies that got killed in the invasions and that was very sad but you had to keep going under those circumstances,” Camperlino said. “Just like life. Sometimes we have bad circumstances but we have to keep going.”
Camperlino said he tries to live by that motto everyday. He shared that when we keep going, hopefully we can come out victorious, just like they did in World War II.
On the 75th anniversary of D-Day, veterans did not only take the time to share their own stories, they were also given something special to recognize their outstanding service.
The veterans received coins for their years of service and to also show the honor, respect and appreciation given to them for fighting for the United States of America.
They were celebrated with cake, shared more stories and voiced how thankful they are to still be here. They also said there’s still work to be done and that the freedom they fought so hard for should never be taken away.
“I think we fought a war and won it for the greatest country in the world and I hope our people, politicians and whoever else they are keep it that way,” Camperlino said. “Let’s not give it away, our freedom away.”
The Syracuse Vet Center offers quality counseling services and numerous programs for veterans along with a Combat Veteran Hotline that’s available 24/7. Click here for more information.