So close and yet so far

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by By GLENN FARLEY / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @GlennFarley

KING5.com

Posted on June 5, 2009 at 6:05 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 23 at 8:51 AM

Video: Two Mercer Island D-Day veterans meet

MERCER ISLAND, Wash. - Wendell Ellsbury is a veteran of the D-Day invasion.

Next month he'll turn 95. He lives on Mercer Island, but until last night's NBC Nightly News, he didn't know that there was another D-Day vet on the Island - 89-year-old Hu Riley who was interviewed by Tom Brokaw as part of a story on the upcoming 65th anniversary of D-Day.

Friday, we helped facilitate a meeting.

Between them, these two men saw some of the worst fighting of the war.

Riley survived Kasserine Pass in North Africa and Sicily before taking a bullet at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France on D-Day. He was in the first wave, and 75 percent of his company was wiped out.

Later, a shattered shoulder at the Battle of the Bulge knocked him out of the war.

Ellsbury landed at Utah beach on day three of the invasion and survived the Battle of the Bulge and Bastogne without a scratch. He would later become part of the occupying force in Germany.

Both of them lost many friends.

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