Following the Daily Sun's commemorative coverage of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, local resident Barton Lockhart paid a visit the newspaper's office to share a piece of history he picked up while working in France.

Lockhart told the Daily Sun that, while working as a chemist for JetCo Chemical in the 1970s, he was sent to the French coast to work with a company converting seaweed and peat moss into biofuel.

During his downtime, Lockhart would tour the area in his small company car visiting many historic locations like the beaches near Cherbourg.

The Battle of Cherbourg was part of the Battle of Normandy during World War II, when Allied troops landed on the beach, capturing the fortified port.

While exploring the beaches, Lockhart found himself face-to-face with an emplaced coastal gun battery, concrete and steel bunkers outfitted with large artillery and stocked with ammunition.

The Germans had positioned these coastal guns in and around Cherbourg in twenty fortified batteries, believing that the Allied invasion would fail without the port and ordered it made impregnable, awarding it "fortress" status.

The American ground forces would lose over 2,800 dead and 13,500 wounded conquering it.

“I found a German bunker with a large cannon,” said Lockhart, who climbed down a rope ladder to the beach where he lifted a single souvenir to take home to the United States, a smooth fist-sized rock.

“When I got home I put the rock in my flower bed and forgot about it until I read the article about D-Day,” said Lockhart.

He went out to his yard to see if the rock was still there after all these years and brought it to the Daily Sun to share his story.

Lockhart said he also noted the Norman hedgerows, mounds of dirt and hedges in irregular patterns originally built by the Romans to serve as fences, where German soldiers delayed advancing Americans by weaponizing the natural barriers and practiced moving through the hedges, mounting machine guns and anti-tank weapons.

He also visited a French church housing a steeple on which an Allied paratrooper became tangled while the invasion raged on around him, a glimpse into the terrifying reality of aerial and ground warfare.

Lockhart said his historical exploration wasn't just limited to wartime, as he was able to witness the excavation of a several thousand year-old canoe submerged deep within a peat bog.

Now, well into his eighties, Lockhart says he will return the rock to its resting place in his garden and hope that future generations of Americans will continue to preserve these monumental moments in history.