Transcript for In Normandy on D-Day, US veterans remember those who didn't return: Part 2
We have been documenting their journey for weeks. World War II veterans who were there on d-day, from Alabama, to Tennessee, to California. Flying to France and then driving to normandy. Omaha beach. Where 75 years ago they were the young men who stormed the beaches, who watched brothers the veterans we have followed have made it back. 75 years later just being back here, what's -- Oh, my, this is stunning. This is beautiful. One by one, we greeted each of them again. This time in normandy. We gather in the normandy American cemetery, the site of the first cemetery set up by the U.S. Army just two days after d-day. As we sit here in the cemetery, you can't help but to think of -- The others. The others who didn't come home. That's true. 75 years later, do you still remember that day? Vividly. Yes, sir. They all do. In many ways, it's difficult to come back. True. In fact, this is my first time back. And I came within I'm going to say one hour of not coming back. Harold mcmurren of new market, Alabama. He has often thought of the men who did not come back. Are you thinking about them right now? Yes, I'm thinking about them right now. Because I'm right next to them. So I have to think about it. But I will not dwell on it. These veterans now returning to those beaches of normandy. Veterans hand in hand returning to where it all began. Harold collecting sand to take home with him. And strangers walking up to onofreo zakari from Las Vegas to say thank you. 75 years after the blood shed on this beach. This whole beach, as far as the eye could see. Was just men. Coming ashore, coming ashore. Unbelievable. And onofreo had one more wish. A lot of graves. Look at all the crosses. Oh, boy. To find the grave of the friend he lost. He still has the photograph of him standing before his friend's grave so long ago. And all these years later, he finds him again. Donald E. Simmons, who died on June 6, 1944. He was in the service with me and got killed. There is so much gratitude here, the French for liberating them. A stranger handing jack Claiborne flowers. What do they say to you when they hand you the flowers? Thank you, thank you. But this morning as the sun came up on this June 6, 2019, 75 years later, this time the gratitude would come from world leaders. The president of France, Emmanuel macron arriving with first lady Bridget macron with a special honor for one of the veterans we have followed. They joined president trump and first lady Melania trump, president macron walking up to Vincent Unger, greeting jack Claiborne from Tennessee and when the crowd gathered here saw the veterans' faces on those screens, the swelling applause and then the standing ovation. We know what we owe to you veterans. Our freedom. On behalf of my nation, I just want to say thank you. You are the pride of our nation. You are the glory of our republic, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And then that rare honor. The legion of honor, the highest distinction from France. For five Americans, including Stan Friday, who we have filled all the way from Pennsylvania, who after d-day went far out ahead of the rest to scope out the stranger. He was a scout, witnessing two concentration camps before they were liberated. Mr. Stanley Friday. Translator: Stanley Friday, on behalf of the preparation republic I award you the distinction of knight of the legion of honor. Would were waiting for Stan right after. Congratulations. Thanks. You didn't tell us yesterday. They didn't tell me either. The French had reached out to him, but Stan had no idea the honor would be this grand. What was it like up there on that stage? Thrilling. Like a dream. This is Stan's first time back to normandy. For years he would not talk about what he saw. Partly because of the friend he lost. Before he died he wanted to know if I was all right. While he was dying. That's how good friends we were. Stan remembering the brother he lost, honoring the fallen. Looking out over Omaha beach, the two presidents and the first ladies. And for Stan this day and his new medal is for all of the brothers they lost. Medal part is for the guys that's out there, they're the I'm the stand by, they're the heroes. Every one of these men. I represent them. And for this group of veterans who became men on this beach, who met each other to make this trip back to normandy together, a salute in normandy.
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