GREAT NECK - One of the first Americans to land at Utah Beach on D-Day in 1944 received a special honor today.

Great Neck resident Walter Blum, who turns 89 next week, was inducted into the State Veterans Hall of Fame by state Sen. Jack Martins (R). Blum was one of the soldiers who participated in the D-Day invasion when he was only 18.

Intense enemy fire killed half of the soldiers in his brigade, but Blum managed to survive. He says he helped clear the beach of land mines, then built a hospital for wounded soldiers. Blum says one image that has stuck with him over the years is seeing the bodies of all the soldiers lying on the beach.

"These men and women won the war against all odds, came home and built this country," said Martins. "We wouldn't have Nassau County today if it weren't for them."