ARLINGTON, Va. (NEXSTAR) — Seventy-five years to the day after he stormed the beaches of Normandy in the battle that turned the tide of World War II, Carl Mann was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
“For us, it’s like bringing him home,” his son Carl Mann II said.
Mann died March 30. He was 96.
His family said they could not have picked a more perfect day to bury him.
“If my dad had to pick a day to be laid to rest in Arlington, it would’ve been on the 75th anniversary of where it all started,” his son Miles Mann said.
Mann, a native of Indiana, was just 21 years old when he and thousands of U.S. troops fought their way ashore at Omaha beach. He earned three Purple Hearts and seven Bronze Stars for his valor during World War II.
“It’s awe-inspiring,” Miles Mann said. “We always thanked him for his service.”
His family said Carl Mann asked to be buried at Arlington alongside those he served with because he believed they truly understood the cost of freedom.
“He said the heroes were the ones left behind,” Miles Mann recalled. “He was one of the lucky ones.”
He said his father came home bearing the burden of survivor’s guilty after losing countless friends on the battlefield. He always cherished D-Day.
“He just saw this country and he loved this country. He loved the freedom that we had and he and 16 million guys fought for it,” Miles Mann said.
The brothers remembered their father as a good friend and mentor, a humble man who only recently began sharing his war stories.
“He would just go on and on and tell you all the details about what he did and what the men did he served with did,” Miles Mann said.
One of Carl Mann’s last wishes was that future Americans might understand the sacrifice of those who fought and died.
“He would really want the discussion to be about those that gave their lives,” Carl Mann II said.