Grovetown's Dennis Trudeau honored among many others who helped to invade Normandy on D-Day

Thursday, June 6, 2019
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

Former Grovetown mayor Dennis Trudeau was one of many honored in France for D-Day.

GROVETOWN, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- Grovetown's former mayor and councilman, Dennis Trudeau, was one of 10 American vets honored in Normandy.

Trudeau was captured during the D-Day invasion 75 years ago.

"He's an American hero,” said City Administrator John Waller. “His past and his service speaks for itself. He and his comrades did things and saw things that no 17 or 19 or 22-year-old should see."

Waller knows Trudeau from their time spent in council chambers. But his story, starts way back.

"He was a Canadian paratrooper who jumped into Normandy,” Waller said.

When Trudeau's family moved from Minnesota to Canada, he joined the Canadian army.

"The story he told me is that his first parachute jump out of an aircraft was actually during D-Day on June 6th, 1944,” Waller said.

Trudeau and 160,000 Allied soldiers stormed the beaches of Normandy. Trudeau jumped, landed, and was injured by a bomb shell.

"Shortly there after comes German soldiers and a tank. And they were taken prisoner,” Waller said.

Trudeau taken prisoner to work in the coal mines, starved to 85 pounds, until they woke up one day, the war was over and the guards were gone.

Trudeau returned to that same beach, retracing the steps that changed the world 75 years ago.

"The next 5 year anniversary we're not going to have many of these guys left at all,” Waller said. “It's really important as Americans to sit back and thank Dennis and all of the hundreds of thousands of men that served during WWII."

This anniversary is especially powerful. The Department of Veteran's Affairs says that more than 300 WWII Veterans are dying every single day leaving only a handful left to tell their stories.

Copyright 2019 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved