CAMP DODGE, Iowa — Seventy-five years ago on Thursday, Americans awoke to the news that the biggest military invasion in human history was underway. Allied Forces were slamming into the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, eventually changing the tide of WWII.
On Thursday a group of Iowa veterans, residents of the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown, were given a personal trip through D-Day history.
“When a nation called they did their duty, as did many of you,” Tom Clegg, a historian and military reenactor, told the group at the Iowa Gold Star Museum at Camp Dodge. He and two fellow reenactors demonstrated the more than one hundred pounds of gear infantry soldiers wore as the stormed the beaches. He walked them through the strategy using historic maps, and recounted the bloody toll of the day.
Among the group were four World War II veterans.
Harry Frost of Stratford served in both WWII and the Korean War. He met his wife while stationed in Germany. He says she and her family struggled every day just to eat under Hitler’s regime.
“She went through four years of war under Hitler. It was rough times,” Frost says, “Food was scarce during them four years. Some of their food was nothing but black bread and broth that they begged or borrowed and asked for from the nuns. That’s all they had for four years.”
Frost lost his wife to Alzheimer’s last year. They’d been married 73 years.
Frost says more than a decade of service in multiple wars have taught him a few things he’d like to pass on to future generations.
“I think if everyone had been through it we wouldn’t have to repeat it,” Frost says about war.
“People like to know what I think about the world,” Frost says, “We’ve been through all these wars. We’ve gained nothing.”
Frost turns 95 on Sunday.