In this Wednesday, May 1, 2019 file photo, World War II and D-Day veteran Charles Norman Shay, from Maine, poses at the Charles Shay monument on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. Instead of parades, remembrances, embraces and one last great hurrah for veteran soldiers who are mostly in their nineties to celebrate VE Day, it is instead a lockdown due to the coronavirus, COVID-19. Credit: Virginia Mayo

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One of the two pictures of Omaha Beach on the  front page of the June 7 Bangor Daily News shows Charles Shay, D-Day veteran and Penobscot Indian, formerly of Indian Island, Old Town, now living in France. My wife and I have had the good fortune of meeting and lunching with him a few times through her uncle, also a D-Day veteran. Shay gave us a tour of Indian Island, where we also met his nephew, a prominent sculptor.

Charles Shay was a medic on Omaha Beach, rescuing and treating many wounded soldiers, under fire at the water’s edge. He was awarded a Silver Star, the nation’s third highest military award. He went all through World War II in Europe but was captured by the Germans a few months before the war’s end. His mother in Old Town received a telegram from the War Department saying he was “missing in action.” That was all she knew of his fate until he walked in the door after being discharged.

All that comes from his own recounting and documents he had displayed at his home on Indian Island.

Harold Shaw