On the morning of June 6, 1944 American soldiers landed on the beaches of Normandy to retake Europe, unsure of what lay ahead. Angelo DiCara, from Baltimore, was one of the young men going ashore. As Angelo put on his helmet, watching his comrades jumping out of their boat, some of them already drowning, he wondered if he would make it out alive.
Back in Baltimore, his younger brother Frank was a teenager working at a factory converted for wartime to assembling bomber plane wings. Decades later for Cork Wars, Frank recalled that when he worked at the factory, moving down the line drilling holes into each wing of a B-26 bomber, he focused on placing the drill precisely and true. Frank imagined the assembled plane then heading to Europe to lend protective cover to his brothers Joe and Angelo who were serving on the ground there.
As it turned out, the B-26 did in fact provide air cover for Angelo coming ashore in the D-day invasion. As historian Stephen Ambrose noted about D-Day, “The plane that did the most damage was the B-26 Marauder,” especially at Utah Beach.
The Marauder’s improved accuracy for targeting bombs paid off in that day’s raids on bridges and railyards held by the Germans.
Angelo almost never spoke of his experiences that day. But decades later, when he and Frank, both veterans, attended a commemoration of a D-Day memorial in Annapolis, Angelo relived that perilous day. He said how lucky he felt to survive. Their conversation left Frank with images of young men putting on their helmets and jumping into the waves, many for the last time. Today, 75 years later, we honor their experiences and the sacrifice of so many others.