HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – World War II veterans, most of them in their 90s, stood at attention as they honored the thousands who died 75 years ago fighting on the beaches of Normandy.
Joseph Johns, then a 15-year-old navy frogman who earned a Silver Star for his combat heroism on D-Day, cut the cake honoring the 70 World War II veterans who live at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.
He shared his feelings at this moment with 22News. “A lot of love, a lot of love, for my fellow men,” Johns said, “and for what I am being shown. Just can’t say enough.”
Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Superintendent Bennett Walsh officiated at Thursday’s ceremony. Walsh himself is a retired Marine colonel.
“As a fellow military person, I’m just honored to be carrying on their legacy,” Walsh told 22News. “The way I looked at it, what our forefathers did for us during World War II, it’s our responsibility to continue that tradition of their bravery.”