By JESSE LEAVENWORTH and DAVID OWENS
When the liberation of Europe began seven decades ago, Rico Pace of West Hartford was pinned down on Omaha Beach as tiny bits of shrapnel pinged off his helmet.
In the array of U.S. Navy vessels off the smoke-veiled shore, Armand Jolly of Pomfret worked a destroyer’s 5-inch gun, and Bernie Brennan of Manchester operated the radio aboard a rocket-launching landing craft.
Today, World War II veterans around the world will mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day, history’s greatest seaborne invasion. On the Normandy peninsula in France, President Barack Obama and other world leaders will commemorate the successful fight for a foothold in Nazi-occupied Europe and honor the approximately 4,000 Allied service members who died there on June 6, 1944