A World War II veteran in the twilight of his life stands once again on the soil where he fought the Nazis when he was young man. He remembers those long-gone days of terror and valor and thinks of friends who died before his eyes. In a voice tinged with age and emotion, he talks about what he saw and heard and felt. Why would he want to revisit the places where he saw hell erupt around him? For many veterans, the experience brings a sense of closure to memories that often have been locked away like an old uniform. They find healing in places where once they witnessed the worst–and the best–that humanity has to offer.
Since 2004, The Greatest Generations Foundation has offered the opportunity for veterans to return to their battlefields at no cost to them. These voyages back to the battlefields are often emotional, providing aging veterans a long-overdue method of dealing with their war experiences, a chance to re-kindle pride in their service and sacrifices, and a venue to educate others.
In “Return to D-Day,” you can share in the stories of 35 such men, accompanied by John Riedy’s striking photographs that capture the raw emotions of their return to a pivotal battlefield of World War II in Europe. These are tough men who did things in war that often seem impossible today, things that needed doing if the world was to shake free of Nazi tyranny. Standing on Normandy Beaches, once among the bloodiest battlegrounds of military history, they humbly reflect on those events with acute and incisive hindsight.
These men changed the course of history.