JENKINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – One of the invaders and survivors of D-Day in Normandy is among the oldest World War II veterans from Pennsylvania alive today. The 99-year-old former Army sergeant sat down with Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller to share his remembrances of D-Day and why he believes the 75th anniversary is so important.
“I was just trying to stay alive.” There’s not much William “Hank” Cordy recalls from June 6, 1944. But what he does remember that day storming Omaha Beach he’d just as soon forget. “The water was so bad with the bodies and troops that were injured and still living and crying for help.”
Mr. Cordy brought with him on D-Day five years military experience including twice battle tested in Africa and Sicily. The Avoca native was 24-years-old and a member of the vaunted 1st Infantry Division during the Battle of Normandy. When asked if he lost friends, Mr. Cordy responded “Oh, lots of friends. Good ones that I was with for years.”
As those around him became the injured and fallen, Mr. Cordy remained unscathed. “I was lucky. The Lord was with me.” The 99-year-old Jenkins Township man spent the 75th anniversary of D-Day at home watching televised coverage of events in Normandy. He believes it’s important we still remember those who lost loved ones that day. “I’m sure that never goes away,” he said while acknowledging it’s also important to remember freedom isn’t free. “That’s why we’d done it. We would never have what we have today if we hadn’t have won the war.”
This proud Pennsylvania Patriot has keepsakes of his military service as he pointed out “This is my regimental pin.” He displays his patriotism both inside and outside his home and reflects on a life well-lived including that of a D-Day soldier. “I felt I’d done my duty and I had done it well.”
While Mr. Cordy wasn’t wounded on D-Day, he did suffer a shrapnel injury to the head during the Battle of the Bulge for which he was awarded a Purple Heart.
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