ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Wednesday marked the 74th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II.
D-day was full of moments that shook the world, and in Anchorage, locals commemorated military sacrifices for liberty and freedom.
"I can't even imagine what the Germans felt like facing that kind of enormous foe," Alaska Veterans Museum Executive Director Michael Haller said.
On June 6, 1944, about 160,000 Allied troops crossed the English Channel. That was the initial D-Day assault.
For Haller, a veteran, that day and the battles surrounding it stand as tributes to American principles.
"D-Day represented a taking back of liberty, of freedom," Haller said.
Michael Haller is always staying busy. While he runs the Alaska Veterans Museum now, he spent his career in the Air Force, fighting in Vietnam and the Cold War. His grandfather and uncles fought in World War II.
"For more than three years they were traveling by foot… they didn't talk much about it," Haller remembered. And once he experienced war, he knew the pain of the inevitably violent memories.
"I began to understand why they were quiet,” he said. “They [the memories] were deadly, and they were very horrifying at times."
Haller traveled to Normandy last year. He says walking those hallowed grounds took him back what felt like 74 years.
While they weren't there on the day either, a much younger group, Dimond High School's Junior ROTC, is experiencing their own history lesson in Normandy, as they too commemorate the big anniversary.
"Since I was eight years old, I've been wanting to go to Normandy, France for the anniversary because I was obsessed with World War II history," Dimond High School sophomore Aiden Lipinski said before he left for Normandy.
The Dimond JORTC senior army instructor said the trip would sharpen the cadets' understandings of D-Day, and the role American soldiers played during the historic campaign.
The Alaska Veterans Museum did not have a dedicated exhibit for D-Day this year, but for next year's 75th anniversary, Haller says to expect something big.