Martha MacCallum spoke with two American veterans about their experiences in World War II on the anniversary of D-Day -- June 6, 1944.

Arlen Lincoln Harner said he was 18 when he first enlisted in 1943. He said he was seasick for "nine straight days" in 1944, during part of his unit's trip across the ocean to the European theater in World War II.

"I don't think [the unit] really knew too much of what was going to happen," he said.

Harner said heavy seas delayed his ship's approach to Normandy, but that he eventually stormed the French coast with his fellow Allied forces.

"Seeing the wounded and some of the dead on the beach was kind of a tough situation," he said. "We were shelled -- that was the scariest part."


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Fellow veteran MacDonald Leach recalled his post-Normandy march with a heavy duffel bag.

He said he had a flesh wound from shrapnel and later contracted pneumonia after being forced to sleep in a field.

The pair recalled hearing President Harry Truman announce the "solemn but glorious hour" that Germany surrendered in May 1945.

Leach said he was in the now-Czech city of Plzen (or Pilsen) and that his unit wanted to fittingly find some Pilsner beer to celebrate.

Instead, he said the men discovered a warehouse stocked with fine German brandy. So, they loaded a truck with the beverages and took it back to their camp.

Leach said that when his unit received news of the German surrender, a young boy ran in and began happily shouting "Das Krieg ist kaput!" -- or "The war is done."


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