Local WWII vets recall D-Day

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Updated: Fri, 06 Jun 2014 06:14:17 CST

70 years ago Friday, the Allied troops invaded the beaches of Normandy, France.

Soldiers that were barely men at the time are now in their 90's.

While they're proud of their service to this country, and what was accomplished during World War II, they say it can be difficult to talk about.

"The sky was lit up, everything was lit up from fire power. It's like the 4th of July." Said WWII vet, Raymond Rutt.

Rutt was 26 when the Allied Troops rolled onto the shores of enemy territory in Normandy, France.

"The beach was really bad. The ocean was red with blood from people that got killed." Recalled Rutt.

He was drafted along with dozens of other Hastings men at the time.

He spent one year in training, and two on the battlefield.

"I made the landing on the beach a day or two later when there was still fire." Said Rutt.

He was in enemy territory, a part of the largest amphibious invasion the world has ever seen.

"It kind of gets to me. What I've seen and what I've heard." Said Rutt.

156,000 Allied troops were part of that invasion, while still others were fighting elsewhere.

"We were trying to protect some of the things that we have now in the United States that we take for granted, that wasn't there." Said WWII vet, Virgale Jensen.

Virgale Jensen was serving in China, Burma and India, completing 242 missions and 800 hours of flying time.

He can still recall the moment he heard about the invasion in Normandy.

"I heard this on our radio with a lot of static and the only thought that came to my head was it's over in that part, now we'll get more help here." Said Jensen.

Explaining that he almost always flew without a co-pilot.

"No radio operator, no navigator, you did it all yourself." Said Jensen.

Though he wasn't a part of the D-Day invasion, Jensen says we must always remember the significance of the day, and what every soldier did for this country.

"What you have to do to make it end. That's to make sacrifices." Said Jensen.

President Barack Obama joined hundreds of D-Day Veterans in Normandy Friday to commemorate the anniversary and honor those who served and those who lost their lives during the war.