Lewis said crowds were at the Greater Binghamton Airport awaiting the veterans’ return, and their presence and applause were remarkable.
“That was really impressive,” he said while taking a break from watching a televised Yankees game at his Oneonta home on Thursday.
Lewis was a trainman on the D&H, including 32 years working as a conductor. He joined the Army when he was 20 years old.
Lewis served as a private first-class in the 729th Railway Operating Battalion, working in service and supplies, from December 1942 to December 1945. His unit landed at Omaha Beach eight days after D-Day, he said.
Completion of the National WWII Memorial was overdue and not timely enough for many veterans to visit, Lewis said. Whether a visit to the site is during the 70th anniversary year of D-Day or another time, seeing the tribute is significant, said Lewis, who thrice has visited the memorial.
“It’s great,” he said.