SALT LAKE CITY — Veterans, their supporters and history buffs are all pausing to reflect on the 75th anniversary of the World War Two invasion of Normandy. For some surviving WWII vets in Utah, the memories of D-Day and the war are still clear in their minds.
Don Pullan served with the 911th Air Engineers during WWII. He arrived in France three days after the invasion started. He says what he faced was a “cake walk” compared to what the first round of soldiers went through. He says those men walked into almost certain death.
“The guys that went in on Omaha Beach, those guys walked into a killing affair. If he didn’t get shot up or killed, he was lucky,” Pullan said.
Even though a lot of the German forces had been taken out by the time he arrived, he can remember taking fire from enemy forces and some of his friends being shot. He says there are plenty of memories of the war he wish he didn’t have.
“We had enough of those bloody things,” Pullan says, tearfully, adding, “Sometimes it’s a chore to think back on those things and think of anything at all that’s worthwhile. It was all rotten.”
Pullan’s story is just one being told at the Fort Douglas Museum in Salt Lake City. Other veterans and war reenactors were on hand to delve into the history of what some people call one of the biggest coordinated efforts in military history.
Museum curator Beau Burgess says it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep the stories of these veterans alive, especially among young people. He says many teens don’t really understand the importance of historical events like WW2 or even 9-11.
“New adults don’t have the same emotional connection to it,” Burgess says.
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