continued “What I am looking to do this year is make it more informal,” DeSorbo said. “The last couple of years it has been very crowded, almost 300 people each time. … So it has been very well attended.”
DeSorbo said he’s noticed veterans attending enjoy talking with each other and fellow attendees, so he wants to provide more time for people to converse with one another. He said this year’s event is also helping to raise funds for next year’s 70th anniversary event, which he hopes to make a special remembrance.
“We are working on maybe one speaker,” he said. “The last couple years I have had military speakers, my twist is, let’s get somebody that is not military because that’s who’s got to keep the memory alive, the recognition alive of what these people went through.”
A local D-Day veteran said one memory has stuck with him through the years. He was watching a group of prisoners during the campaign to capture the Ludendorff Bridge spanning the Rhine. He lit a cigarette and handed it to a prisoner who, apparently surprised by the action, hesitated to grab the smoke.
“He couldn’t believe it … he took the cigarette and looked at me with surprise, real surprise,” the veteran said. “I thought all these years, we come home and told stories, I said I hope he went home and had a family and told that story about me.”
Keeping such stories alive and vibrant is what the remembrance event is all about. DeSorbo said the youngest person at the event this year will be 87 years old, and while he is still trying to find survivors of D-Day, that task isn’t getting any easier. He said his drive is to keep the event going and get other people involved so it might be cemented for years to come.