It was a battle fought long ago on a beach far away, with a victory that changed the destiny of history.
The 68th anniversary of D-Day was remembered across the country on Wednesday, marking the pivotal turning point of World War II. The United States and its allies launched a massive invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe on June 6, 1944, with more than 10,000 American troops losing their lives on the beaches of Normandy, France.
Longtime Madison County resident Harold McMurran was one of the brave soldiers who stormed the beaches that day. He was a 19-year-old U.S. Army Corporal. McMurran remembered the horrific sights and sounds of D-Day in an interview with WHNT News 19 on Wednesday, calling it a victory that saved freedom.
"Seeing all the sand kicking up around you, wondering if one of those bullets is meant for you," said McMurran, who now lives in New Market. "We knew we had to take that beach and move. If we didn't, the whole nation would suffer...We did something that was very important to maintain our freedom, and we were willing to give our lives to do it."
Harold McMurran is now semi-retired after spending more than 50 years in the aviation industry. McMurran turns 88 on Sunday, and he and his wife will celebrate 65 years of marriage on July 4th.
The 10,000 U.S. troops who were killed on D-Day represents a death toll roughly double of the 5,000 troops who lost their lives in the entire Iraq War.