As the nation took pause Wednesday to honor its veterans, a new book is taking a closer look at World War II soldiers that history forgot. NY1's Cheryl Wills filed the following report.
In the World War II epic 1998 film "Saving Private Ryan" a pivotal scene shows American soldiers storming Omaha Beach in France.
Tom Hanks famously depicted Army Ranger Captain John Miller, but these soldiers who played a critical role during D-Day were not only left out of the Oscar winning film they were also erased from history.
"They're not in any D-Day movies but you see their balloons so if you see 'Saving Private Ryan', the scenes on the beaches - you see the balloons but you don't know that all of those American beaches, Omaha, Utah - those balloons were flown by African-Americans," said Linda Hervieux, author of "Forgotten: The Untold Story of D-Day's Black Heroes, at Home and at War".
She says the all-black band of brothers - the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion - played a critical role on D-Day by managing the massive balloons, under heavy fire, which were about the size of a small car.
"You had these balloons flying up in the clouds and it was protecting like a mine-field," Hervieux said.
Hervieux tracked down 12 surviving members of the 320th who remembered their heroic acts as if it were yesterday.
"Hopefully this book will help change the record. Hopefully, the next time we see something on D-Day these men will be part of it," she added.