70 years ago today the Greatest Generation defined itself - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

70 years ago today the Greatest Generation defined itself

COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, France (WIS) - For some who gathered at Colleville-Sur-Mer this morning, this was their first time visiting the place that holds so much history and so many souls. For others, it was a return to a site that defined their generation.

A ceremony commemorated this day 70 years ago, when Allied troops stormed the nearby beaches to save France from the Germans Army. About 10,000 white marble tombstones mark the eternal existence of the men who gave their lives that day.

Among the thousands of people attending the ceremony were the survivors, who have shared their memories with those who listen.

"You can tell by so many people being here and being so grateful to us," said Navy veteran Ted Teagle.

The men waged war so that we might know peace, they sacrificed so that we could be free. They fought in hopes of a day when we no longer need to fight

The group of South Carolina veterans found themselves center stage, cracking jokes and shaking hands with President Barack Obama and President Nicholas Hollande.

I shook hands with Hagel, and the presidents," said Army veteran Curtis Outen. "I got them all. I feel honored to be on this stage!"

Some veterans chose not to shake the President Obama's hand because they disagree with his politics.

But most agreed the president's speech captured the sacrifice that millions still remember.

"America's claim, our commitment to liberty, and to the inherent dignity of every human being ...That claim is written in the blood on these beaches," Obama said. "And it will endure for eternity."

Teagle said democracy is still being challenged even to this day and this moment.

"It was a great step forward for democracy and for that I'll give him credit," Teagle said about the president's speech.

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