Burlington County veteran remembers D-Day

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Friday is the 70th anniversary of D-Day and a surviving veteran from Burlington County spoke to Action News about his experience and his lost brothers. (WPVI)

Friday is the 70th anniversary of D-Day and a surviving veteran from Burlington County spoke to Action News about his experience and his lost brothers.

"70 years - it's hard to believe that," said Elmer D'Imperio.

91-year-old D'Imperio of Pemberton Township, New Jersey was there that day.

He was an army private among 155,000 allied troops who stormed the beaches in Normandy, jumping into the ocean off Omaha Beach which turned red with blood and bodies.

"Up to the neck and we had about probably 50 or 60 pounds of equipment on our back. There was bodies lying around - all we thought was we want to get to a spot where we're going to be safe," he said.

Over 4000 allied soldiers were killed on D-Day. The legendary invasion of occupied France was a turning point in the war against Hitler and the Nazis.

"It's a long time. It's a long time, so don't mind me if I seem emotional," he said.

D'Imperio is grateful he lived through D-Day. Now 70 years later he still grieves for those who didn't.

"You think back and you say, 'My God, how many people were killed for the war?'

So many soldiers have been killed and families suffered," he said.

After World War II, D'Imperio returned to the states, married and fathered two children.

He settled in Pemberton Township where he's served as mayor twice. 7 decades later he's still proud of his service.

"We had our hands full doing all we were doing, but we had to do what we did to preserve the freedoms that we have, the greatest country in the world," he said.

D'Imperio always has a flag hanging outside his home. He says he and the other surviving D-Day veterans know better than anyone what it stands for.

Related Topics:
veterand-dayn.j. newsPemberton Township
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