Normandy Battle Re-enactment

By: Justin Ware
By: Justin Ware

The guns are all real, so are the knives, grenades and clothing all the men used to re-enact a battle that was commonplace in the Norman countryside 60 years ago.

A large group of spectators at Ben Hanson Park in Wisconsin Rapids got to see firsthand what a firefight between German and American soldiers would have looked like during World War II.

For the veterans present, the ceremony was a good way to cap off a week that began with the dedication of the national World War II memorial in Washington D.C.

"This, of course, culminates the event for those of us locally," said Donald Kanuth, D-Day Veteran, Omaha Beach.

On D-Day, Kanuth was on his way in to Omaha Beach, by far the deadliest invasion beach with the 56th Signal Battalion.

His landing craft was hit offshore, forcing him to swim with 80 pounds of gear on his back to a beach where he would have to withstand gunfire, artillery and a lot of Germans.

"The adrenaline was really flaring. We knew why we were there, we just didn't know where we were going or when," said Kanuth.

Saturday, Kanuth joined dozens of veterans in watching battle scenes that they hadn't seen for nearly six decades.

"It's an emotional thing for me and kind of hate to think about it too much, because I reminisce and I think of all my friends who died in the war, so I'm not very good at talking," said Dr. Jon Thompson, Fighter Pilot in World War II.

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