D-Day vets reunited on their WWII boat
Local soldiers who survived the invasion of Normandy June 6, 1944, were reunited Saturday on the same boat where they served 65 years ago.
The vessel is now owned and operated by Cross Sound Ferry, which runs from Orient Point to Connecticut. But during World War II, it was used to launch smaller boats that brought soldiers onto Omaha Beach, France, and carried wounded servicemen back from the beach.
Veterans who gathered on the deck of the boat Saturday shared stories and painful memories from the day that changed the course of the war. Jimmy Lijoi, of Woodmere, was 17 years old when he took part in the D-Day operation, and it took him years to realize what he and his comrades accomplished that day.
"We actually saved the world," he says.
D-Day survivor Pete Jarango says he is concerned that young people today do not understand the significance of the Normandy invasion and its affect on world history.
"That's why I bring my children with me every year," Jarango says. "They need to pass this on, and I hope they do."