‘I should be over there with them’: Billerica WWII veteran recalls losses on D-Day

On the 76th anniversary of D-Day, a World War II veteran in Billerica is remembering his fallen brothers.

Residents and emergency responders led a parade past PFC John DiClemente’s house to mark the anniversary. DiClemente, 96, was among the troops that invaded Normandy in a major turning point in the war.

“I asked the dear Lord to protect me as I was going in,” DiClemente said. “Don’t ask me how many we killed, the kids in high school ask us the same question. We don’t talk about that, but we lost a lot of men at Normandy beach.”

Thousands died in the invasion, including more than 6,600 U.S. troops. DiClemente said he’s grateful the community is remembering that sacrifice, and that he’ll never forget his friends who didn’t make it home.

“I cry every time I talk about them because it breaks my heart,” DiClemente said. “My buddies are over there and I’m here. I should be over there with them.”

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