A D-Day veteran was surrounded by love as he traveled with his family to Normandy to pay tribute to his fallen comrades in arms.
Frank DeVita and dozens of family members and friends traveled to the French beach for the 75th anniversary of the battle that shifted the course of World War II.
The New Jersey native who was a gunner’s mate 3rd class on the USS Samuel Chase said he still has vivid memories of the battle. He was 19 at the time and brought troops into the beach.
Now 94, DeVita told Inside Edition about how his job on that fateful day was to lower the troop transport landing door as the soldiers hit the beach ready for battle and dodging bullets and bombs.
“I had 32 men and only two made it to the beach, then the bullets started coming into the boat and we lost 14 to 15 men. It was a bloodbath,” he said. “We had like 90 percent casualties.”
He fought for 18 hours on June 6, 1944, on the beach and said that a friend of his had his helmet and part of his head blown off. He recalled his friend was crying for his mom. DeVita said he held his hand until he died.
“They are not going to walk their daughters down the aisle when she gets married. They are not going to hold their babies or their grandchildren in their arms for the first time. They gave their lives for their country,” he said.
For many years, DeVita never wanted to speak about his D-Day experiences.
“I just couldn't,” he said. “I didn’t want to bring that back to my family.”
Now he has a deep desire to share his story and pass on the memory of that longest day in history.