WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Monday marked 78 years since the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France. On June 6, 1944, more than 150,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches, a turning point in the war against Germany.
On that single day, 4,414 Allied soldiers lost their lives, 2,501 of them Americans. More than 5,000 were wounded. On the German side, several thousand were killed or injured. Since then, many veterans who lived past the war have now passed.
However, one of them who still remembers that day is 97-year-old Wellington resident Paul Ybarra. He remembers getting up around 1 a.m., being given a big breakfast and then loading on assault boats.
“One thing I remember is that they didn’t tell us where we were going or what was gonna happen, ’til about halfway through the channel, they gave us a little booklet with French phrases and sayings,” Ybarra recalls.
The National World War II Museum estimates fewer than a thousand D-Day veterans are still alive.