SUNBURY – June 6, 1944, D-Day, is remembered as one of the greatest invasions of all time, it started the process to take down the Nazi Empire.
David Del Testa is an associate professor of history at Bucknell University. He says seeing the United States come together with its allies is one of the biggest takeaway of that day, “D-Day has the supreme importance of the efforts of, in fact, an entire world coming together to beat Nazi Fascism. And the bravery of American soldiers was paramount.”
That day, the U.S., the United Kingdom and its Commonwealth members, Free France, and a host of other allies conducted the invasion of Normandy. 4,500 of 150,000 soldiers died during the initial invasion, with many more dying in the aftermath.
99-year-old Howard Hendricks of Sunbury joined the US Army in 1944 and fought in the Philippines and New Guinea. Hendricks was not a part of D-Day, but he says he joined the service because he felt the need to, “Everybody that I knew was in the service. But i was married, and I had two children. I had I would say well over a year of combat. It was in the rough part to in New Guinea. I never regretted it.”
Del Testa says the big motivation for men to join the service was to fight back against the Nazis, “Many people were compelled to join because of the draft, but I think everyone had a supreme sense they had to fight Fascism and push the far right back as quickly as possible before horrible things developed even further.”
After returning from overseas, Hendricks started Hendricks Auto Body, which was a successful business in Sunbury.