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Monday, October 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Finding peace amid the horror of Normandy

UPDATED: Thu., June 6, 2019, 10:48 a.m.

Amid the horrors of war, men find peace however they can.

On the afternoon of June 6, 1944, U.S. Army clerk Bill Luke took solace from the Bible he carried into the hell of Omaha Beach.

A few miles away, on the English Channel, sailor Roger McCarthy found comfort in the 14-inch guns of his battleship, the USS Nevada, as it traded salvos with German batteries on Utah Beach.

Anti-aircraft gunner Ben Brooks gave thanks that he even made it to the beach.

Seventy-five years later, all are in their 90s and living in the region, quietly proud of their contributions to America in peace and war.

“We did our jobs,” McCarthy said.

U.S. Army troops crowd a Navy LCI - landing craft infantry - en route for Normandy beaches in June 1944. Forty years after D-Day, participants still vividly recall their experiences during the massive Allied invasion that became the decisive battle against Adolf Hitler's Germany. (Cowles Publishing)
U.S. Army troops crowd a Navy LCI - landing craft infantry - en route for Normandy beaches in June 1944. Forty years after D-Day, participants still vividly recall their experiences during the massive Allied invasion that became the decisive battle against Adolf Hitler's Germany. (Cowles Publishing)

In the days and weeks that followed, American, British and Canadian soldiers liberated Normandy, France, and eventually all of Western Europe.

The world marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day on Thursday. Dignitaries will speak of sacrifice and heroism by America’s “Greatest Generation,” the men and women who won the war and then fought for peace.

Most have passed on. Others continue to serve their communities.

Joe Meiners, of Nezperce, Idaho, copes with his nightmares by writing poetry and staying active.

Of the more than 16 million American men and women who served in World War II, about 450,000 are still alive.

All are in their 90s and older. They speak in voices that are soft, but full of pride. They speak for a generation.

“I was pleased that I had a part in helping bring about peace,” Luke said. “That was important to all of us.”

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