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Claverack World War II veteran recalls those lost on D-Day

May 29, 2017 05:57 PM

CLAVERACK -- As a young man, Ralph Avery went into the Navy.  He was just a teenager when he found himself in the waters going to Omaha Beach in a dangerous and deadly operation.

"They took an awful, awful beating.  Those Germans just cut them down.  They wouldn't even get out of the water," said Avery.

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Soon he and his wife Dorothy will be heading back so many years later to a place now filled with thousands and thousands of white crosses.

"I've been there three or four times and I cry my eyes out each time. I just mention that word and my whole body, I can feel the scare into it," said Avery.

"It tore me right in half.  Most of those guys I knew.  We either came over on the boat together or we trained together."

Two years ago, Avery finally received the medals he earned for his service, thanks to then-Rep. Chris Gibson, including a Combat Action Ribbon, a World War II Victory Medal, and Campaign Medal.

"That tore me in half too because I knew each one of those medals stood for one of the guys that's up in that cemetery," said Avery.

Near the many family pictures in his house in Claverack, Avery has a replica of the LCT (Landing Craft, Tank) 571 he was on, on June 6, 1944.

He and his family recognize and honor the real meaning of Memorial Day.

"We are here because so many men and women gave their lives to see that we are safe at home," said Ralph's wife, Dot Avery.

The Averys will be going with a group of veterans on an all-expense-paid, eight-day trip to Europe.  He'll be there on the anniversary of D-Day.

Credits

Kumi Tucker

Copyright 2017 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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