On 75th anniversary, 96-year-old D-Day vet buried at Arlington National Cemetery

Army Sgt. Carl Mann earned three Purple Hearts and seven Bronze Stars.

A 96-year-old Army veteran, who stormed Omaha Beach on D-Day, was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday, exactly 75 years after that historic day.

Sgt. Carl Mann, a native of Mount Vernon, Indiana, was one of the 165,000 Allied troops who invaded the beaches of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944. Thousands of men died that day, but Mann survived the horrific experience and was ultimately involved in all five of the major World War II battles in the European theater, according to his obituary.

Mann went on to serve as a forward operator during the Battle of the Bulge and freed prisoners from two Nazi concentration camps. During his Army career, he earned three Purple Hearts and seven Bronze Stars.

When Mann entered New York Harbor at the end of the war, he remembered saying -- as the ship passed the Statue of Liberty -- "Old lady, I've been to hell and back for you, and it was worth it," according to the Evansville Courier & Press.

Mann died on March 30, 2019, leaving behind three daughters, three sons, twelve grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

The D-Day veteran was buried in Section 59 of Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday. His eldest son, Carl W. Mann II, received the flag from his father's casket. The cemetery in Virginia was a place that Mann had visited during a 2015 Honor Flight trip to Washington.

"All this. That's what the price was. That's what freedom cost," he said while staring at the Arlington headstones, according to the Evansville Courier & Press.

"There was a long period of time when he felt closer to his brothers in the military than he did to his blood brothers," his eldest son explained. "People who haven't been in combat might not understand that. Those that have been don't need to explain."