“[I’m talking about what happened] more than I ever expected to. I have no more problems with it. It’s been long enough. I have deep feelings about what happened there. But, I can handle it now,” said Hagerstown resident Arthur Staymates, who landed on Omaha Beach.
Staymates remembers there wasn’t much fighting that first day. He recalls feeling more like “German target practice.”
“Everybody always see this as a tremendous battle. It wasn’t a battle. We were nothing but target practice,” he said during a recent interview at his home in Hagerstown.
Bill Kraham was a captain in the Air Force on D-Day. On the day of the invasion, he flew two missions. Kraham remembers the missions to be like many others he flew.
“Peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” Kraham said laughing about his last meal before taking off. “And then our name was called over the speaking to report to briefing.”
Kraham and Staymates both said they did not realize the magnitude of their mission until years later.
“Maybe our generals and those wonderful people who directed our actions [knew]. They probably knew the importance of it from the very beginning. But I don’t think [the soldiers] every felt that,” Staymates said.
Kraham credits his experience in the military for his success later in life. He went to on be an attorney. He later explored many interests, including restoring homes and studying astronomy.
“I’ve learned a lot. These are my development years,” Kraham said. “I was so young when I went in [to the military].”
Staymates worked in finance and credits his experience for his success as well.
“It took me a long time to com out of that in my life back here,” Staymates said.” But, I think it made the rest of the world look like a piece of cake. Nothing could be worse [than war].”
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