When the USS Corry, an American Navy destroyer bombarded by the Nazis, sank off the coast of Normandy on D-Day in 1944, its executive officer, the second-in-command, crowded as many rescued sailors as he could on a whaler used as a lifeboat. Then he saw a body floating close by.

He told his men to tie it to the side of the boat. There was no more room on board.

He didn't know whether the sailor was alive in the cold English Channel waters, but he felt compelled to pick him up.

The unconscious teenager tied to the lifeboat was Chet Furtek of Philadelphia. He awoke, with his face covered by a blanket, on a rescue ship. He thought he had died and gone to purgatory. Heaven, he knew, was out of reach. But he soon found himself alive, surrounded by other wounded and deceased sailors and soldiers being transported back to England as solemn music played from a loud speaker.

Furtek is now 93. And the story of his rescue, which he described as a miracle, has not been forgotten.

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This is what it sounds like when more than 156,000 enormous pairs of balls roll up on a French beach ready to kick some Nazi ass.

During the D-Day landings at Normandy on June 6, 1944, radio correspondent George Hicks recorded 13 minutes of audio on a Recordgraph tape recording system that viscerally captured the unbridled death and destruction of the largest amphibious landing in the history of warfare.

And while Hicks's recording went down as one of the most "iconic and frightening" to emerge from the devastation of World War II, as the Washington Post put it, the raw audio of the Allied landings went unheard in its original recorded form for more than 75 years — until now.

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(Associated Press photo)

The Allied invasion of Normandy on D-Day was one of the most complex military operations ever undertaken, but amid the intense preparation and planning for history's largest combined land, air, and sea operation, one commanding general kept it simple, scribbling out his war plans on a single piece of paper.

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(U.S. Air Force via Wikimedia Commons)

It arrived overnight and disappeared just as fast.

That's how historians have described North Carolina's Laurinburg-Maxton air base, a hub for military training during World War II. The vast majority of the United States' glider pilots were trained there, including the forces who played an unsung role in the D-Day invasion 75 years ago.

About 500 glider planes were used in the invasion, and 312 of those were from the United States. Of this number, almost all of them trained at Laurinburg-Maxton, about 90 miles east of Charlotte, said Frank Blazich, lead curator of military history at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

But despite the important role gliders played in transporting men and equipment, the base's contributions have been largely forgotten.

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At a D-Day commemoration ceremony on Wednesday, Queen Elizabeth II was introduced to "leaders ... representing the allied nations that took part in D-Day," according to a tweet from The Royal Family, which included, um...German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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Photo: Sgt. Henry Villarama/U.S. Army

U.S. Army Rangers returned to the site of one of their most storied battles on Wednesday to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and scaled the same Normandy cliffs their forebears climbed on June 6, 1944, which changed the trajectory of World War II.

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