Cleveland community honors WWII veterans on 75th Anniversary of D-Day

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland community honored veterans and helped commemorate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day on Thursday.

The average height of a soldier in the U.S. Army during World War II was 5'8" tall, weighing about 150 pounds. On June 16, 1944, the men, on average around 24 years old, put on 60 pounds of gear, including ammunition, food and a 20- pound rifle. Paratroopers carried twice that.

At the Cleveland History Center, community members remembered D-Day by showing citizens what it took to equip 73,000 American soldiers and paratroopers who landed on that first day of battle.

This brought back memories to those who served in the war.

"It's not like talking about World War I, not talking about the Civil War. They're all gone -- we still have that connection and World War II is close enough in recent memory that it has a strong impact. Even if your dad or grandfather wasn't at Normandy, maybe he was at the Bulge and hearing about what these guys went through. You can make that leap that my dad must have done something like that," said Donald Jantonio, a veteran.

Meanwhile, over 100 World War II veterans attended a special ceremony at League Park Thursday afternoon.

The U.S. Navy, Cleveland Indians and the Baseball Heritage Museum honored, saluted, and thanked those who served during the war.

The ceremony included the Color Guard, Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the National Anthem.

Officials concluded the event with the playing of Taps and the singing of God Bless America.

More on D-Day, here.

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