When he returned, he was carrying the names of nine men who had been with him that day 55 years before.
At the American cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer that overlooks Omaha Beach, Mr. Polyniak visited the grave of the man who had tried to save his life.
"He visited Pavoris's grave last. He stood by himself in front of it, his head bowed," reported The Washington Post. "They had been shot together, moments apart, yet he had gone home to live and love and raise a family, but his friend still lay in the ground in Normandy, over a half-century later."
"As you might imagine, that was an emotional moment for all," Mr. Balkoski said.
When the longtime Brooklyn Park resident went to see the movie "Saving Private Ryan," its graphic depiction of Normandy on D-Day was so powerful that Mr. Polyniak was hospitalized the next day with chest pains.
"When we were growing up, he didn't talk about it and just said that was his job," said his daughter, Suzanne R. Costa of Ellicott City. "In later years, when he did talk about it, he never complained."
He was an active member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was a member of the Roland Terrace Democratic Club and the Brooklyn Boosters.
His wife died in 2002.
He was an active member of St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, where a Mass of Christian burial was offered June 11.
Also surviving are two sons, John R. Polyniak of Pasadena and David D. Polyniak of Brooklyn Park; two brothers, Paul Polyniak of Catonsville and Daniel Polyniak of Shamokin; two sisters, Helen Rouito of Shamokin and Olga Feudale of Ashland, Pa.; five grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.