Sgt. Maj. Robert Blatnik served during the entirety of World War II – and was among those storming the beaches of Normandy on June 6th, 1944. (RELATED: Watch: Reagan Honors the Heroes Who Took the Cliffs of Normandy).
While its now been 74 years since D-day, Blatnik had made a number of pilgrimages back to Normandy in recent years to honor those who died there, including his own brother. The last visit made by Blatnik was back in 2013, on the 69th anniversary of D-Day. He was 93 years old at the time.
“Oh father in heaven, thank you for saving me,” Blatnik said as he kneeled on the beaches, beginning to cry.
“And I want to thank these men that gave up their lives for us. Oh, thank you dear Lord — I give you thanks. Dear Lord, and may all these souls rest in peace, I know you’re taking good care of them.”
Blatnik’s division had over 900 men on D-Day – and only 387 the next day. Among the dead was his own brother.
This wasn’t the first time that Blatnik made a return to Normandy. He came back the following year, 2014, which was captured in a report by CBS. Back in 2013, he returned too. CBS also captured Blatnik visiting the gravestone of his late brother at a French cemetery with others killed in WWII. He didn’t locate his brother’s grave in the massive cemetery until that very day.
Upon finding the grave, Blatnik said: “This day is a day of remembrance of something that happened 70 years ago… perhaps now I can set it aside and go on without it [the pain of loss]…. but I doubt it.”
Late in life, Blatnik remained there for veterans of all wars. Even into his eighties, Blatnik volunteered his time to the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Dallas, visiting patients who “just needed someone to talk to.”
God bless Mr. Blatnik and all of our veterans. Give his inspiring story a share on Facebook and Twitter.