Fort Polk soldiers paid tribute to the legacy of the soldiers before them, as they stood on the beaches of Normandy, France, this week in observation of D-Day.

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry Regiment took part in commemorative events Thursday during the 75th anniversary of the day 1,600 Allied forces stormed the French coastline during WWII to fight against Nazi Germany.

At the request of the French government, the U.S. soldiers joined others from across the nation as they traveled to Pointe du Hoc, where they were given the opportunity to scale the same cliffs that Allied forces faced as they made their way across the war torn beaches on June 6, 1944.

The paratroopers were able to visit other historic locations from the battle that included the Sainte-Mere-Eglise church, where paratrooper John Steele from the 82nd Airborne Division survived by hanging from the building’s pinnacle for two hours pretending to be dead before he was taken prisoner by German forces.

Commemorative events are expected to continue through June 9.

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