Within 48 hours after the first assault wave hit Normandy on June 6, 1944, Allied forces had secured the beachhead and Hitler's Atlantic Wall began to crumble. But for the soldiers who survived D-Day and for the tens of thousands who who followed them, the battle for Europe had just begun.
The 29th Division would not take its key objective in France, the town of St. Lo, until July 18. For the rest of the year, the battle raged across France, into Belgium and the Netherlands and finally into Germany.
Casualties were high. In the Allied war cemetery in Normandy's St. Laurent-sur-Mer, 9,386 soldiers killed on Omaha Beach and in its aftermath are buried.
"We were cannon fodder," says Mr. Elburn. "We were told we were there for the duration. We were either going to win the war or die. I don't know what makes you do it. You're a good ole American citizen, I guess. You believe in your country. Each day your life's on the line and you get up and try to go a little farther."
Where are they now?
Edward Ringgold Elburn lives in Kings Town on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Last year the drill hall in the Chestertown Armory was named for him. He received a Purple Heart after being wounded in France.
Samuel R. Krauss lives in Catonsville. He was wounded in France on June 18, his 28th birthday, and was awarded the Purple Heart.
MAURICE DANA TAWES runs the J. P. Tawes & Bros. marine hardware store in Crisfield, his native town. He retired from the 29th Division National Guard with the rank of general. The Crisfield armory is named for him.
Carl L. "Kie" Tyler lives in the Down Neck area outside Crisfield, where he specializes in "fishing up" soft crabs. He was awarded three Purple Hearts.
WAVERLY B. WOODSON JR., who was raised in Philadelphia, is retired medical professional who lives in Clarksburg. Among his military honors is a Purple Heart for the injury he received off Omaha Beach.
Mabel Carney Stover, who was raised in New Jersey, lives part of the year in Ruidoso, N.M., with husband George Edward "Smokey" Stover, a former Army pilot for Gen. Douglas MacArthur. They spend the summer months at their daughter's home in Howard County. The Stovers are active in the Battle of Normandy Foundation, a non-profit group raising funds for, among other projects, the erection of a Wall of Liberty memorial in Normandy to honor U.S. veterans who served in the European Theater of Operations.