Since he was a little boy, Harold McMurran was fascinated by flight. It only seemed natural that he would go into the U.S. Air Force, but for reasons unknown to him, even to this day, the branch would never accept him. He would still get the chance to serve though.
"One morning, my mother went to the mailbox and there was a you've been chosen by your friends and neighbors to serve in the military," McMurran remembered.
Drafted into the Army in 1943, McMurran shipped out of Boston months before D-Day, not knowing where his ship would land.
"You see, they had North Africa going and we didn't know if we were going to North Africa or England," he said.
After two weeks at sea, McMurran and the rest of troops on his boat landed in Liverpool, England. They were sent down the coast to train, but for what? They didn't quite know.
"We knew there was something big was going to happen. We trained hard everyday for the invasion by going out in the LST's and coming back, we'd have some American soldiers trying to act like they were defending the beach as you were coming in," said McMurran.
It wouldn't be until June 6, 1944 that McMurran and the rest of the troops knew just why the were training so hard.
It's a date that McMurran has earmarked in a journal that he kept while serving.
"I wore this in my boots. You can tell it was wear worn and I made a notation there," he said.
The entry is simple. It reads, "June 6th, 19-44. Invasion started 7:15 a.m."
"When we got on the beach, I think I went through three modes that I went through. First I was afraid, then I was scared, then I was numb. I just went, I didn't think. I did my job, didn't worry about the consequences," McMurran remembered.
"Machine guns was going off around you. Artillery was going off around you. Then you see all these dead bodies lying around, wondering if the next one would be you," he said.
On this 70th anniversary, many veterans have made the decision to go back to France and walk on the beaches that they stormed so long ago, but Harold has no desire to return to the place that took so much. He becomes emotional when talking about it, simply saying, "I left everything I had there. I don't want to go back."
On this anniversary, McMurran doesn't look back, but forward to future generations.
"I want them to know that freedom isn't free and they need to start looking at their history books because if they don't, history will repeat itself and they'll be the ones to do the same things that we did, " he said.
Today, there are a little over a million WWII veterans living. They are dying at a rate of around 555 a day. The Veterans Administration estimates there will be no more WWII veterans living by 2036.
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