JACKSONVILLE, Florida — The year is 1944, and the freedom to simply exist was at stake for millions of people. 

Hitler had most of free Europe in his claws and the allied forces knew that they had to do something drastic to secure the future of the free world. And on June 6 in Normandy, over 160,000 allied troops stormed the beaches to do just that. 

They had two goals: annihilate the Nazi death machine, and stay alive by any means necessary. Many men only got to accomplish one of those goals that day.

Thousands died along the beaches. The average age for a soldier? Just 19.

D-Day Special: Rendezvous with History (42 mins)

It's these humbling facts that inspired First Coast News to send anchors Jeannie Blaylock and Lewis Turner to Normandy, France for the 75th Anniversary of D-DAY. 

Not only did we want to tell the stories of those who no longer tell their own, but we wanted to bring history to life in words and pictures from the men who saved the world from Nazism.

Hear from a veteran, now 97 years old, who parachuted into Nazi territory,

Watch as men and women from our First Coast crawl onto the beaches to experience the treacherous terrain of D-DAY.

We invite you to watch our special 'D-Day: Rendezvous With History.'

Note to teachers: If you'd like to air this special in your classrooms, please email Jeannie Blaylock at jblaylock@firstcoastnews.com

WATCH SPECIAL HERE