WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. - In August we told you the story of a World War II veteran honored by the Pasco County Commission.
Alphonse Lara of New Port Richey was part of the D-Day invasion. As it turns out, our story led to something Lara never expected. Another solider from his very same unit saw it and got in touch with him.
The two met for lunch Sunday at an Applebee's in Wesley Chapel. It's the first time Lara and Al LaEzza have been in the same place since June 6th 1944, when they landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day.
The World War II veterans were both members of the 294th Joint Assault Signal Company. They aren't sure they even met all those years ago.
But finding out they both now live in Pasco County was something they never expected.
"I said gee, it can't be possible. We only had 300 men. I figured how long could all of us last," said Lara.
With their families soaking up just how special this day was, the two veterans looked at old pictures, and searched through documents for names they might recognize.
Some memories have faded. But others never will.
"Bodies were just floating all around us," said Lara.
"The commander says 'where the hell you been LaEzza?' And I showed him on the map. He said that was still enemy held territory," said LaEzza.
Lara is about to turn 89, LaEzza is 90.
"I don't care how old I get. As long as I'm healthy," said LaEzza.
They are still amazed they survived D-Day.
"it's just amazing. God took care of us. And that's why were are here," said Lara.
"The lord was with me. He was with me all the way," said LaEzza.
The two veterans hope this is the first of more meetings to come. Their families even hope to get the two of them of them on an honor flight to Washington DC, so they can visit the World War II Memorial together.