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Malden Veteran Remembers D-Day And The Beach At Normandy

MALDEN (CBS0 - Today the world paused to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the beginning of the end of World War II.

World leaders and veterans gathered in Normandy to remember those who fought and died during the invasion. This is likely the last major anniversary remembrance for these veterans. Less than 4% are still alive today.

One of them lives on the North Shore. He was one of 73,000 Americans who were part of Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy.

Seaman First Class Wallace Burbine had been in the Navy for six months when D-Day began.

"I could see people on the beach falling, hitting the deck," said Wallace Burbine. He's 92 now, but on D-Day he was a 17-year-old kid from Malden, a Seaman First Class, part of a landing craft crew heading for Utah Beach.

"The day of the invasion, we're all loaded. Everything a GI needs to fight a war," he remembers. His job was to get supplies to shore to help those GIs break out and move inland. He had enlisted just six months before and then was part of the greatest armada ever assembled. He said he was scared and thinking, "What the hell am I doing here?"

Cannon shells from German 88s pounded the Americans.

World War II veteran Wallace Burbine, of Malden. (WBZ-TV)

"You could hear them coming in. There's a loud whistle so you take cover. Flying shrapnel, that's when our man went down, that was hurt bad," he said.

The shelling was so intense they couldn't unload. "The skipper gives us a choice. Do you want to stay with the craft or dig in?" Burbine said. He hunkered down on the beach for 12 hours. "I know there's a lot of people laying on the beach, I saw that. And I said 'God bless.'"

When D-Day ended there were some 10,000 allied casualties. Mr. Burbine would go on to serve in both Korea and Vietnam.

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