Transcript for Honoring the veterans and thanking the military still fighting
and we mark this veterans day honoring our veterans from world War II to the Korean war, from Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan. We begin with the World War II veterans you met right here. What we've learned happened after our trip, our return with them to normandy. It was earlier this year, we documented those World War II veterans from all over America returning to the beaches of normandy, 75 years later. So many of those veterans telling me they had never gone back and few had even talked about it. We'll never forget what Harold mcmurren of Alabama told us. In many ways, it's difficult to come back. In fact, this is my first time back. And I came within, I'm going to say one hour of not coming back. Reporter: The veterans hand-in-hand. And strangers walking up to Onofrio Zicari, originally from Geneva, New York, to say thank you. Sir, thank you for your service. Thank you. Thank you. Reporter: 75 years after the bloodshed. This whole beach, as far as the eyes could see, just men, coming ashore, coming ashore. Unbelievable. Reporter: And it was nono who had one more wish. A lot of graves. Look at all the crosses. Oh boy. Reporter: To find the grave of the friend he lost. Holding the photograph of him standing before his friend's grave so long ago. 75 years later, he found him. Donald E. Simmons, who died on June 6th, 1944. What he did not know, what that back in the U.S., in Syracuse, New York, that fallen hero's family was watching. And there were moved that nono went back to honor their loved one. And they would connect when he came home. There he is. I'm Marie, don's sister. And pleased to meet you, Mr. Nono. I'm Doris. I'm don's oldest sister. I'm Elinor Simmons. And I was his sister-in-law. I'm Bernie Simmons, I'm don's brother. Only one left. See the picture? Definitely, yes. That's him. Yep, that's him. Reporter: A few months after they melt over the phone, they were about to meet in person. Nono traveling to Syracuse to meet the family of his fallen came rad. Our station WSYR, right there. Applause from strangers at the airport. Nono about to meet the Simmons family. What do we got here? Reporter: They were lined waiting to shake his hand. I'm nono. When we landed, we were 19-year-old kids landing on the shores of France and within a half an hour, we became men. Reporter: We have traveled all over the world this year, to Afghanistan, where we met the current generation serving their country. Lieutenant colonel Jill moss from coudersport, Pennsylvania. Her family back home. She speaks Dari with the Afghans. You're able to form better relationships with them. Reporter: Captain Carly Costello from Marietta, Georgia. I remember -- I remember 9/11. I was in -- I was in seventh grade when it happened. Reporter: And we traveled to Iraq, where they are still fighting ISIS. How important is it that folks back home know what it is what you all are doing? I think it's critical, sir. Knowing the support, that we have the support from the folks back home, it means a lot to everybody here. Reporter: Captain Craig dolheye from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He told us he just got engaged. We got engaged right before I came out here. Reporter: I imagine she's waiting for you. What's her name? Emily. Reporter: Tell her we thank you for your service. I will. Reporter: Sergeant Caleb hall, St. Charles, Illinois. His wife, his little boy back home. Does he understand -- Yeah, he does. He knows why we're out here. Reporter: We remember major Vaughn Wright and what he told me. You'll be home for the holidays. Home in time for the holidays. Look forward to it. Reporter: Not that you're counting or anything. No, of course not. Reporter: We're glad you're going to be home in time. Thank you so much. Reporter: Tonight, major Wright sending us these images with SHAWN and Olivia and his wife, Rosie. He's back home for Thanksgiving. And so many of you at home have written to me online, reached out to us, after our trip on that U.S. Navy submarine, the "Uss Florida." They see so little sun. Best place now right now on top. Yeah. Reporter: They can spend several months beneath the sea. How many days can that be up to? Well, sir, I've done a 95-day Reporter: 95 days. That's my longest mission. Reporter: Without seeing daylight. Yes, sir. Reporter: Well, welcome to the other side. Then, we were off, down below, the submarine deep into the mediterranean. The giant missile tubes that hold the tomahawks. And we took note of where the sailors sleep. Reporter: In between the tomahawk missiles. Right, right. Reporter: While on board, they were told they were about to go on a classified mission. Good evening, everyone. Good evening, sir. Reporter: And the individual awards for their service. Lieutenant Danielle ro-ann among them. The secretary of the Navy has awarded to lieutenant Danielle ro-ann, U.S. Navy. Reporter: And then seaman Calvin Estes. Seaman Estes front and given in the Navy, okay? This is the first insignia given in the Navy, okay? This is earned. Reporter: And admiral William Houston reminding the of the veterans who've come before them. When you take a look at these pins, you're wearing them in honor of the World War II vets. Reporter: Veterans like the ones we met in normandy. Stan Friday from Pennsylvania was 96 when he received France's top honor, the legion of honor, to thank him. Stan honored but telling me at the time, he was remembering the true heroes. The medal part is for the guys that's out there, they're the heroes. I'm the stand-by. They're the heroes. Reporter: Every one of these men right here. I represent them. It was an honor to meet all of them. Stan's had a birthday since I met him. He's now 97 tonight. Happy birthday, Stan. And happy veterans day to all the men and women who have serbed and are serving our country tonight.
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