Honoring heroes on the 75th anniversary of D-Day

Gratitude was shown to American World War II veterans by the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, who thanked the allied troops for liberating France.
5:39 | 06/06/19

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Transcript for Honoring heroes on the 75th anniversary of D-Day
It was 75 years ago today, June 6th, 1944, allied forces stormed the beaches here. Thousands of Americans, young sons who became men. Their brave battle changed the course of history. President trump and the first lady with French pm Emmanuel macron and first lady Bridgette macron there. President trump telling the veterans, you are the pride of our country. For weeks here, we have followed several d-day veterans, from every corner of America, who made the journey back. Today, we saw them up on that stage, and one of them had a remarkable moment with the French president. What happened on that stage, and we were waiting for 96-year-old Stan Friday right afterward. They were determined to make the journey back. The American World War II veterans who were here on d-day. Returning to the beaches, hand in hand, perfect strangers saying thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for everything you guys did, for your service. Thank you. But today, that gratitude came from world leaders. The president of France, Emmanuel macron, the first lady, Bridgette macron, landing here to thank the Americans, the allied troops, for liberating France. Greeting president trump and first lady Melania trump, the two world leaders would take to the stage with those World War II veterans. Among them, so many of the veterans we have followed. President macron walking up to Stan Friday from Pennsylvania. President trump with Vincent Unger from Florida. Moments later, it was the French president shaking Vinnie's hand. President trump greeting jack Claiborne from Tennessee. And there was Harold Himmelsbach on the left, raised in Yakima, Washington. And when the crowd gathered here saw the veterans' faces on those big screens, the swelling applause. And then, the standing ovation. President macron saying France has not forgotten. We know what we owe to you, veterans. Our freedom. On behalf of my nation, I just want to say thank you. And president trump, who singled out so many of the world War II heroes onhand, telling them this. 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 followed all the way from Pennsylvania. Who after d-day went far out ahead of the rest to scope out the danger. He was a scout, witnessing two concentration camps before they were liberated. Stanley Friday, on behalf of French republic, I award you the distinction of the knight of the legion of honor. We were waiting for Stan right after. Stan, 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. There are only about 300 foreigners in the world who ever have been given that French honor that you were given today. Is that right? Well, that's an honor. It is. At 96, 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. My best buddy, his name was Monday and we were like this, tighter than brothers. We'd give our life for each other, without a word of doubt. And we did everything together. But out on separate patrols, he would lose that friend. The medic that took care of him, before he died, he wanted to know if I was all right. While he was dying. That's how close we were. Stan remembering the brother he lost, honoring the fallen. Looking out over Omaha beach, the two presidents and the first ladies. And the flyover. And for Stan, this day and his new medal is for all of the Broe brothers they lost. The medal part is the guys that's out there, they're the heroes. I'm the standby. They're the heroes. Everyone of these men here? I represent them. Stan telling me, it's about the brothers who did not come home, the more than 9,000 who are buried right here behind me. And when you walk through this cemetery, you see so many crosses with that date, June 6th, 1944. We will have much more later right here on this broadcast and then later tonight on a special edition of "Nightline," return to normandy, we hope you'll watch or set your DVR. These veterans and what they share with us is powerful and it's a gift.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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