SURF CITY, N.C. (WITN) - A dozen sea turtles were released back to their natural habitat this morning, commemorating the 74th anniversary of D-Day, when allied soldiers stormed the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944.
The release happened at the Karen Beasley Sea turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Surf City.
Hundreds of people gathered as the biggest turtle, a 260-pound loggerhead, was wheeled out to the surf.
The first two turtles were released in honor of sailors who participated in the historic invasion. "Blondie" was released in the memory of Blondie Hasler, a member of the U.K. Royal Marines, while "Hutch" was released in honor of Ed Hutchinson, a member of the U.S. Navy.
"To see them gain their freedom just as the semblance of D-Day was an effort to gain freedom for the world so that was very symbolic and I just hope the turtle lives a long and happy life just like my Dad who was 94 when he passed away," said Nancy Fahey, Hutchinson's daughter.
The program began with the presentation of colors for both the United States and the United Kingdom.