HOBE SOUND, Fla. - Henry Vermette sang and danced to a tune from long ago. He grabbed a comrade's hand, as she sat at the bar, grinning at the one man show.
Vermette, 87, had to come to VFW Post 10132 in Hobe Sound today. It's the 68th Anniversary of D-Day, and he needed to be around other veterans who understand the indescribable pain of losing friends to war.
Vermette was a 20-year-old Army sergeant serving in India when word flashed across the globe that Americans and other allied troops had stormed the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944
"I don't think of what I did. I think of what the guys in Europe did," said Vermette, as tears streamed down his face. "Can you imagine that many dead people washing in and out of the tides?" he asked.
John McArdle, 86, sat a few bar stools down from Vermette, talking with his son, Dan.
McArdle was an Army Private First Class in World War II, an infantryman who fought in the Philippines. He and his twin brother Joe enlisted at the age of 18.
"I just felt I have to give back. Give back," said McArdle, the thought provoking tears.
He knows all too well of the heroism and horrors of war ... of the sacrifices made by those who waded ashore in France on D-Day and across the Pacific.
"The loss of life. It's not easy to talk about it anymore," McArdle said.
The passage of time does not dull the pain. He still thinks "about all those fellows that never came back."
Lingering also are patriotism and pride for fellow soldiers, fellow Americans who fought and died on D-Day, turning the tide of the war in Europe every hard-fought step of the way.
"I thought it was the best thing that ever, ever happened because the Americans were really going on. You always go for your home team," said Vermette.
68 years later, two elderly veterans remember and offer a salute to the young men who went away to battle and forged themselves into the Greatest Generation.