D-Day's 24 hours changed 20th century, and Europe, forever

A dwindling number of D-Day veterans will be on hand in Normandy this year when international leaders gather to honor them on the invasion's 75th anniversary.

They include American Charles Shay, who on June 6, 1944, landed on Omaha Beach, where he helped drag wounded soldiers out of the rising tide, saving them from drowning. For his courage, he was awarded the Silver Star.

At the time, Shay could not yet fathom what D-Day would mean. He was more concerned with the bleeding troops, body parts and corpses strewn around him, and the machine-gun fire and shells that filled the air.

Shay, now 94, knows another war can never be discounted. Some men, he says, cannot get enough of power, and the pattern continues today.

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Associated Press photographer Virginia Mayo and video journalist Mark Carlson contributed to this report.