It was 68 years ago today and veterans throughout The United State of America still remember one of the most significant days in world history - It is simply know as "D-Day".
City Islanders Russel Schaller and Robert Branizza both recall that fateful day. Branazza says he vaguely remembers watching it all from from the sky. However, Russel Schaller says his recollections of D Day actually began on June 4th, when his 33rd Photo Reconnaissance Squadron was restricted to the base. There were no evening junkets, or visits to the local pub allowed.
He recalls the following day, on June 5th when the aircraft lights were all painted with invasion stripes. He says it was then evident to him that the longest day was getting close. Sergeant Shaller tells City Island Images, " It was late in the evening of June 5th and early morning of the 6th the sky above our base would spring to life with the largest armada of aircraft I ever witnessed.'
He says there were bombers, troop carriers and escort craft of every description assembling for the initial assault on France. Schaller says they came from all directions and blanketed the sky from horizon to horizon and turned in an easterly direction towards the coast of France.
He says that official word reached him on the morning of June 6th that the invasion was in progress. Unfortunately because of cloud cover, only 11 missions were carried out by his 33rd Squadron. Of ten pilots involved, Schaller says six of them never survived the war.