American and German Veterans Reveal The True Horrors Of D-Day (HBO)

George Ciampa had never left the United States before being drafted into the army to fight Nazi Germany in 1944. But at 18-years-old, he was on the shores of Normandy in France, collecting the dead.

Paul Golz was a reluctant 19-year-old with the German army, sent to Normandy to try and block the Allied invasion. He was tasked with carrying ammunition for a machine gun crew.

Seventy-five years later, both men mark the living memory of one of the most significant moments of the 20th century. And as world leaders gathered in Normandy Thursday to mark the enduring legacy of D-Day, these men, both now in their 90s, recounted what it was like.

“The government didn’t want bodies lying around for other troops coming in to see,” Ciampa told VICE News from his home in Palm Springs. “We gathered them as quickly as we could.”

Before he could bury the dead, Ciampa had to survive landing at Utah Beach.

“You’re seeing guys getting hit. You’re seeing bodies,” he said. “I was scared to death, tell you the truth.”

Golz was 14 years old when he heard the German army had marched into Poland. By 19 he’d been drafted into that same army.

“I saw the American wounded,” he told VICE News from the village of Königswinter in Germany. “The German wounded, I didn’t really notice them until I heard them scream: ‘Comrade, help me.’ That’s when I understood ‘the hero’s’ death. Nobody wants to die a hero’s death. Those are all young kids who want to live.”

Ciampa and Golz represent the thinning ranks of soldiers from both sides of the war that are still alive to tell the story of the largest military invasion in history. They hope their legacy lives beyond their generation.

“I do think that we have to tell these stories,” said Golz. “These young people, who haven’t experienced it, they have to realize that because of this successful invasion, we have had 70 years of peace. They should always preserve that, preserve the democracy that we gained because of it.”

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Macron and Trump arrive for joint ceremony | AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump arrive for a joint ceremony at the American cemetery of Colleville-Sur-Mer, to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings by Allied troops on the beaches of Normandy. IMAGES

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D-Day: Donald Trump lands in Normandy for commemorations | AFP

US President Donald Trump arrives in Caen, northern France, for a second day of tributes to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings by Allied troops. He is set to join French President Emmanuel Macron in Colleville-sur-Mer for a Franco-American ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. IMAGES

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D-Day: Omaha Beach, 75 years after the D-Day landings | AFP

75 years after Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy to push Nazi forces out of France, men gather in vintage military uniforms on Omaha Beach to pay tribute to the soldiers who took part in the operation. IMAGES

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D-DAY, June 6, 1944 | AFP Animé

Videographic locating the D-Day landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944. US President Donald Trump, Queen Elizabeth II and 300 veterans are to gather on the south coast of England on Wednesday as part of events marking the 75th anniversary of the Allied invasion. VIDEOGRAPHICS

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AP travels with D-Day vet to France 75 years later

Army medic Ray Lambert already had two Purple Hearts and a Silver Star before he landed with the first wave of Allied troops who landed in Normandy on D-Day, 1944. At 98, the North Carolina man is returning one last time to Omaha Beach and he is taking a reporter with The Associated Press with him. (June 3)

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D-Day veteran committed to saving France’s honor

Among the tens of thousands of Allied soldiers who landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944, was a hardened group of elite French commandos who ensured that France had D-Day exploits to be proud of, too. (May 23)

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Hundreds of Germans form human chain to halt far-right rallies on WWII Dresden bombing anniversary

Hundreds joined hand in hand to form a lengthy human chain in the inner city of Dresden, in defiance to far-right gatherings on the anniversary of the World War II Ally aerial bombing attack on Dresden.
The human chain was formed at 18 00 local time (19 00 GMT), with the ringing of the church’s bells. The bombing of Dresden took place on February 13-15 in 1945, during which more than 1,600 acres (6.5 km2) of the city centre were destroyed by Allied airstrikes. Death toll estimates range between 22,000 and 25,000 people.

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