PUNTA GORDA, Fla -- After 75 years, D-Day has lived to be one of the most important times in our nation's history, and it holds a significant meaning to so many people. The Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda understands that day more than anyone. The museum hosted, residents, veterans and their families to commemorate the historic time.
The museum set up movies and exhibits honoring the soldiers who invaded Normandy. Some people were given chances to use virtual reality glasses to see what the experience was like as well. But today was about those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, several World War II veterans were recognized and given certificates for their service in the war.
If you ask anyone in the building, 96-year old old Robert Schehr, who served in the navy for six years, remembers D-Day like it was yesterday.
"I lost a lot of friends, guys that went from boot camp, Pearl Harbor, Midway Island," Schehr said.
Between 4,000 and 9,000 men died that day in Normandy, and others lived to carry on their legacy. Looking through old photographs from that day, one picture sticks with Barbara Thompson, a man is captured by enemy soldiers on the shoreline, she later learned it was her father, but she says she didn’t know until a few years ago.
"He never really wanted to share a lot of this, he was proud to be in the army but it was a pretty traumatic experience," Thompson said. But his legacy and years of service live on through her.
"It’s just by the grace of God, he survived and many didn’t survive," Thompson said.
It was for the few, the proud, and the bold were honored, on a day that won’t soon be forgotten.