GEORGIA (WRBL)—78 years ago today, the beginning of the end of World War 2 began.  

June 6th, 1944, the Allied forces conducted one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history…D-Day’s battles were the beginning of the end of World War 2, the soldiers that fought in the invasion changed the lives of the French people forever, liberating them from German control. One woman, Dany Boucherie, was just five years old during the German occupation of France. Her daughter translates her memories as a French girl during the war.

“They have no freedom, so if you have to move outside you need to have a pass and check with a German soldier. There is a curfew, so every day by night we have to put blankets on the window because it was forbidden to have light from house by after the curfew,” Dany Boucherie says.

The operation started around 6:30 in the morning, and by dawn of June 6, thousands of Allied troops had already infiltrated enemy lines on the ground securing bridges and exit roads.

A local research aide for the National Infantry Museum, Evelyn Johnson, eulogized a Georgia native, Pvt. Garnie Grizzle, who landed on Omaha Beach on June 7, 1944.

“He’s actually landing on the beach. The day after D-Day. And one big thing to remember is that he’s walking through all the carnage from the day before, which is absolutely unimaginable to think about,” Johnson retells.

On D-Day itself, the Allied troops suffered more than 4,000 deaths with thousands more wounded or missing.

“He’s basically clearing that path for the secondary invasion… he makes it to Hill 192, which is just outside of the town of St. Laurent, which is where they’re their point of meeting, where they’re trying to get to. It’s a German stronghold. It’s about a 16,000 German manned parachute division right there that they’re trying to break up. He gets to Hill 192 and they’re immediately blocked and they’re basically stuck there for three days on the third day. Pvt. Grizzle decides that he’s going to move his men forward. He ducks his head over the side to try to cut the barbed wire, and that’s when he’s killed instantly. But, because of his actions, his men were actually able to make it over that barbed wire barrier and capture Hill 192 in the next couple of days,” Johnson adds.

She says his sacrifice won Hill 192 for his division. By late Aug. of 1944, all of northern France had been liberated, concluding the Battle of Normandy. Because of the sacrifice made by Pvt. Grizzle, and thousands of other Allied troops, families like the Boucherie’s were given back their freedoms, liberties, and lives. Something, Dany will be forever grateful for.

“A very very big thanks for all the GIs and the veterans right now and remember that she go to sleep and with German and she wake up it was American,” Dany Boucherie explains.

Dany’s daughter, Flo Boucherie, says she went to her first D-Day commemoration when she was four years old, just one year younger than her mother when she lived through D-Day. Her family honors the soldiers that fought for their country every year when visiting her grandmother who then lived near Utah Beach.

“We go to the cemetery of Coalville, the American cemetery of Coalville. And for my grandmother, it was very important to bring my mom, myself, me and my brother to the cemetery… Don’t forget what the soldier did for the liberation,” Flo Boucherie says.

U.S. Army Armor and Cavalry Museum curator Rob Cogan says retelling stories of soldiers like Pvt. Grizzle, visiting gravesites, and museums that outline history, keeps the stories alive even long after the remaining veterans of D-Day were laid to rest.

“Remembering anniversaries like the Normandy landings. D-Day is just so important because too often in the modern world where we have so many creature comforts, we have so many opportunities to ourselves. It’s too easy to take those for granted and to realize how much of those have been paid for with the sacrifice, the blood, sweat and tears of the American soldier, an the American servicemember who has gone before us to solidify those freedoms,” he shares.

“Although my soldier’s story was unique and his sacrifice was important, his was not the only one. And that’s something that we need to highlight because we call them silent heroes for a reason. If I hadn’t been there to eulogize him, he would not have been eulogized. I mean, that’s just the truth of it. And you think about all those thousands of soldiers that are lying over there, they’re silent heroes and their stories also deserve to be told,” Johnson adds.

Dany Boucherie’s stories were also told by Producer and Director of the documentary The Girl Who Wore Freedom, Christian Taylor. Taylor’s son was apart of an honor guard from the 101st Airborne Division that went over to Normandy to interact with the French people, it was there that Taylor met Dany and Flo Boucherie.

“I asked them what they remembered about D-Day and they told me the stories. And that was the beginning of this idea of The Girl Who Wore Freedom,” Taylor says.

Both Flo Boucherie and Johnson believes documenting stories survivors, and soldiers, is crucial to keeping history alive.

“It’s a very important for me to have this story in this movie and that the American people and everybody in the world knows it is part of history and don’t forget that. It’s very important,” Flo says.

“I think a big part of why this museum is so important and why military museums across the United States are so important is that we do tell the stories of silent heroes… And that’s what this museum is here, is here to preserve those stories. And so to keep those museums open, come see them and the only way that we keep these stories alive is you keep telling them and we keep showing them. So visit and keep telling those stories,” Johnson explains.

Places like the National Infantry Museum, keep these stories alive, to remind everyone to never forget the sacrifices that were made for us, before we were even here.

“Wherever you’re at, whether it’s here in Georgia or elsewhere in the country, go find an army museum, a national memorial, you know, a private foundation museum that tells the story and learn about your nation’s military history,” Cogan says.