continued DeSorbo said finding veterans to participate has been a challenge. According to a statistical estimate on mortality rates by the Department of Veterans Affairs, about 740 WWII veterans die each day, and of the nearly 16 million who served just 1.7 million are alive today.
By working with the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center in Saratoga Springs, DeSorbo gathered a list of known local survivors. He also contacted local veterans organizations in more that a 60-mile radius to help with his search to find D-Day survivors.
In all, 30 D-Day veterans were found to participate in the event held last year at the Holiday Inn Express in Latham, where they all received a plaque in honor of their service. In all, 275 people attended the ceremony, where a speech was given by retired Maj. Gen. Joseph Taluto of Schenectady.
“These guys knew what they what they were going to be confronted with on that day unlike many other soldiers, and it’s an important date,” said DeSorbo.
This year, Desorbo has already found more D-Day veterans than last year to attend the ceremony with the number at 44 and growing. The event will be in a bigger room and Congressman Chris Gibson will be the keynote speaker, along with guest speakers from the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Anyone who has interest in attending is welcome to do so with reservations.
DeSorbo now writes a D-Day newsletter three times a year for D-Day Revisited members at $25 per household. All D-Day survivors can get the newsletter free of charge.
“The amazement and embarrassment of many is displayed when they don’t know what D-Day stands for, what happened on D-Day, or when it was,” writes DeSorbo on why he began his efforts. “Many, including myself, did not know the exact military explanation of D-Day.”