Europe

Vets, families remember Normandy D-Day landings, 72 years on

  • CORRECTS YEAR TO 2016- Tombs at the Colleville American military cemetery, in Colleville sur Mer, western France, Sunday June 5, 2016, on the eve of the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day landing. D-Day marked the start of a Europe invasion, as many thousands of Allied troops began landing on the beaches of Normandy in northern France in 1944 at the start of a major offensive against the Nazi German forces, an offensive which cost the lives of many thousands. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

    CORRECTS YEAR TO 2016- Tombs at the Colleville American military cemetery, in Colleville sur Mer, western France, Sunday June 5, 2016, on the eve of the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day landing. D-Day marked the start of a Europe invasion, as many thousands of Allied troops began landing on the beaches of Normandy in northern France in 1944 at the start of a major offensive against the Nazi German forces, an offensive which cost the lives of many thousands. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)  (The Associated Press)

  • CORRECTS YEAR TO 2016- A Thank You is written in the sands of Omaha beach next to the Colleville American military cemetery, in Colleville sur Mer, western France, Sunday June 5, 2016, on the eve of the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day landing. D-Day marked the start of a Europe invasion, as many thousands of Allied troops began landing on the beaches of Normandy in northern France in 1944 at the start of a major offensive against the Nazi German forces, an offensive which cost the lives of many thousands. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

    CORRECTS YEAR TO 2016- A Thank You is written in the sands of Omaha beach next to the Colleville American military cemetery, in Colleville sur Mer, western France, Sunday June 5, 2016, on the eve of the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day landing. D-Day marked the start of a Europe invasion, as many thousands of Allied troops began landing on the beaches of Normandy in northern France in 1944 at the start of a major offensive against the Nazi German forces, an offensive which cost the lives of many thousands. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)  (The Associated Press)

  • CORRECTS YEAR TO 2016- WWII enthusiasts from Spain wearing 101st Airbone gears walk on Omaha beach next to the Colleville American military cemetery, in Colleville sur Mer, western France, Sunday June 5, 2016, on the eve of the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day landing. D-Day marked the start of a Europe invasion, as many thousands of Allied troops began landing on the beaches of Normandy in northern France in 1944 at the start of a major offensive against the Nazi German forces, an offensive which cost the lives of many thousands. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

    CORRECTS YEAR TO 2016- WWII enthusiasts from Spain wearing 101st Airbone gears walk on Omaha beach next to the Colleville American military cemetery, in Colleville sur Mer, western France, Sunday June 5, 2016, on the eve of the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day landing. D-Day marked the start of a Europe invasion, as many thousands of Allied troops began landing on the beaches of Normandy in northern France in 1944 at the start of a major offensive against the Nazi German forces, an offensive which cost the lives of many thousands. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)  (The Associated Press)

  • CORRECTS YEAR TO 2016- Tombs at the Colleville American military cemetery, in Colleville sur Mer, western France, Sunday June 5, 2016, on the eve of the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day landing. D-Day marked the start of a Europe invasion, as many thousands of Allied troops began landing on the beaches of Normandy in northern France in 1944 at the start of a major offensive against the Nazi German forces, an offensive which cost the lives of many thousands. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

    CORRECTS YEAR TO 2016- Tombs at the Colleville American military cemetery, in Colleville sur Mer, western France, Sunday June 5, 2016, on the eve of the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day landing. D-Day marked the start of a Europe invasion, as many thousands of Allied troops began landing on the beaches of Normandy in northern France in 1944 at the start of a major offensive against the Nazi German forces, an offensive which cost the lives of many thousands. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)  (The Associated Press)

  • CORRECTS YEAR TO 2016- A Thank You is written in the sands of Omaha beach next to the Colleville American military cemetery, in Colleville sur Mer, western France, Sunday June 5, 2016, on the eve of the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day landing. D-Day marked the start of a Europe invasion, as many thousands of Allied troops began landing on the beaches of Normandy in northern France in 1944 at the start of a major offensive against the Nazi German forces, an offensive which cost the lives of many thousands. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

    CORRECTS YEAR TO 2016- A Thank You is written in the sands of Omaha beach next to the Colleville American military cemetery, in Colleville sur Mer, western France, Sunday June 5, 2016, on the eve of the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day landing. D-Day marked the start of a Europe invasion, as many thousands of Allied troops began landing on the beaches of Normandy in northern France in 1944 at the start of a major offensive against the Nazi German forces, an offensive which cost the lives of many thousands. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)  (The Associated Press)

  • CORRECTS YEAR TO 2016- WWII enthusiasts from Spain wearing 101st Airbone gears walk on Omaha beach next to the Colleville American military cemetery, in Colleville sur Mer, western France, Sunday June 5, 2016, on the eve of the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day landing. D-Day marked the start of a Europe invasion, as many thousands of Allied troops began landing on the beaches of Normandy in northern France in 1944 at the start of a major offensive against the Nazi German forces, an offensive which cost the lives of many thousands. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

    CORRECTS YEAR TO 2016- WWII enthusiasts from Spain wearing 101st Airbone gears walk on Omaha beach next to the Colleville American military cemetery, in Colleville sur Mer, western France, Sunday June 5, 2016, on the eve of the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day landing. D-Day marked the start of a Europe invasion, as many thousands of Allied troops began landing on the beaches of Normandy in northern France in 1944 at the start of a major offensive against the Nazi German forces, an offensive which cost the lives of many thousands. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)  (The Associated Press)

Proud veterans in their 90s and families of fallen soldiers are commemorating the epochal D-Day invasion of Normandy 72 years ago that helped the Allies defeat Hitler.

They're holding small ceremonies and moments of remembrance along the wide beaches and cliffs where thousands of U.S., British, Canadian and French troops landed as dawn was breaking June 6, 1944. It was a pivotal moment in World War II.

Henry Breton of Augusta, Maine, was among the shrinking number of survivors of the landings to come for Monday's anniversary. Speaking from the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, 91-year-old Breton recalled the fierce German counterattack and ensuing violence and valor he experienced at the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium.

"It's all worth it," he said. "It brings back so many memories."