Recalling D-Day

Sixty-three years later, many of the horrors of the D-Day invasion have faded from the memory of World War II veteran Walter Grapkoski, but the shrapnel lodged in his chest from wounds suffered in the invasion remain, as do more memories than he cares to recall.

"What I remember I'm trying to forget, but a lot of things you don't forget," said Grapkoski, a lifelong Danbury resident.

Grapkoski served in the 30th Infantry Division of the National Guard. The division was deployed to the Normandy beach code-named Omaha on June 10, 1944.

They were sent to relieve the beleaguered 29th Division, which had landed at the start of the invasion June 6 and encountered fierce German resistance.

Grapkoski recalled how a landing craft dropped him off on the beach early in the morning. The craft was under fire even before it reached land.

Grapkoski, part of a five-man machine gun crew, worked to take out enemy gunners firing on the U.S. troops from German fortifications along the beach.

Omaha was the bloodiest of the landing areas, where an estimated 2,000 U.S. casualties were suffered. What Grapkoski remembers most was the uncertainty....

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