PEASE, N.H. — Seven World War II veterans were honored at a D-Day 75th Anniversary ceremony in New Hampshire Thursday.
Each man was given sand from the beaches of Normandy, where so many others died.
The veterans, part of the Pease Greeters who welcome troops home at the Air Force Base, share the bond of knowing what it means to make it home alive.
Seventy-five years ago, American troops jumped into the choppy waters off the beaches of Normandy.
"We were all told, do not turn around once you get on the landing craft, because a lot of boys didn’t make it," WWII Veteran Ray Goulet recalled.
He hit the beach in the first wave. But what happened next, he still doesn’t want to remember.
"I’m very emotional, and tears come down pretty easy," he said.
Somehow, Goulet survived. He calls it a miracle. And so do his two brothers, who also stormed Omaha Beach that day.
"Divine intervention, one hundred percent," he said. "I believe the only reason the three of us were there was because we could speak, read and write French."
Decades later, Goulet remains the lone hero of that band of brothers. As he was honored alongside six other World War II veterans at a D-Day remembrance ceremony Thursday.
At 96, he’s still got a sparkle in his eye.
"I’m enjoying this very much, especially talking to a beautiful woman," he said. "Sorry, but I had to throw that in there!"
And he was grateful to be in the moment, knowing others will remember him after he's gone.
"At 96 years old, I believe I’m very lucky to still be here, and I have to take what comes next," he said.
Cox Media Group