Michael Harris column mug

Managing editor Michael Harris.

As each anniversary passes of the invasion of Normandy, France, we are left with fewer members of the Greatest Generation.

What the Germans couldn't do, is being accomplished by time and age.

The best way to keep their spirit alive is to honor these great soldiers, officers, airmen, naval support, doctors, nurses and all involved in the D-Day invasion. Today marks the 75th anniversary of this turning point of World War II.

The impact wasn't only felt by those storming the beaches. Everyone was involved in the war effort, including the families whose sons were fighting half a world a way to the women who joined the workforce like Rosie the Riveter. People shared rides, bought war bonds and planted Victory Gardens.

We asked Aiken County residents to remember those involved to share their pictures or stories of that Day of Days.

We learned that Margie Bennett, a member of the Aiken Standard sales support staff, had the diary of her father William Lunsford. Lunsford was a Seaman First Class on a ship called a Landing Craft Flak on that day. 

We have printed his account leading up to and including his entry on June 6, 1944. It is an amazing look back from the anxiousness and the "Gung Ho" fight leading up to that day, to the detail of ships around him being sunk to the elation of "going home" just two months after the invasion.

Lunsford passed in 1972.

Randy Morgan, a resident of North Augusta, talks about his uncles Charlie Adkison and George Fedeles who, as part of the army, landed on the beaches that day. At the time, Adkison and Fedeles never knew each other. However, they became related when Fedeles married Adkison's sister, Thelma, following the war.

Can you just imagine the stories they shared about that day? 

Again both have passed. 

Hal Peck, an Aiken resident, is still very much alive and landed at Normandy 11 days after the invasion forces, and went on to be a part of another 75-year anniversary just ahead of us – the Battle of the Bulge.

We are fortunate to have Peck still with us.

There are stories like this throughout the country that can still be passed on, but their numbers are dwindling. Documentaries and movies like "Saving Private Ryan" or the HBO series "Band of Brothers" help paint a vivid picture of the D-Day invasion and World War II.

These stories are also told in books and in today's edition of the Aiken Standard.

Aiken should never forget this Day of Days and we should honor these great veterans who maintained liberty and freedom.