Local veterans reflect on where the world would be without D-Day

Local News

While D-Day is important across the world, it has a special significance at Fort Riley, home of the Army’s storied 1st Infantry Division Big Red One that helped storm the beaches at Normandy.

The ceremony paid tribute to the hundreds of 1st Infantry Division soldiers killed on June 6, 1944. 

Six World War II veterans joined them for the ceremony on Thursday. 

“We talk about their generation from World War II as the greatest generation because the actions that they did, the heroics that they performed really did restore freedom and peace on the European continent,” said Brig. Gen. Todd Wasmund.

One of those veterans is Orris Kelly who entered the war at age 17. He was presented with the United States flag. 

“At the end of the second world war a friend of mine went into Dachau and brought out pictures of the Jewish people that were destroyed by the Germans,” said Kelly. 

He said that was what stuck with him the most, even 75 years later. 

“We just can’t avoid that sacrifice those young men made, we wouldn’t have had this world today without that,” said Kelly. 

For more on the history of Big Red One, you can click here

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