For 88-year-old Milt Guion, the emotions he felt as he stormed Omaha Beach are never that far away despite 4,000 miles and 69 years of distance.
"It never goes away," he told FOX 9 News. "It stays with you forever."
On Thursday, Milt was on hand at the ceremony at the armory in Stillwater along with other World War II veterans as the old, war-related murals recently discovered in the basement of the Stillwater American Legion were handed over to the National Guard to be displayed in a future armory.
"Looking at these murals is like looking into a time capsule," Milt remarked.
Yet, the true time capsules are those who served. Out of 16 million Americans who fought in World War II, just over 1 million still live today.
"Long time goes by, I just keep going though, somehow," Milt said.
Those who invaded Europe, like Milt, make up a much smaller number.
"Sometimes, you dug a hole in the sand. Other times, you got -- more than once, I got -- behind a tank," he recalled. "Tank was moving up, needed protection. Otherwise, you got shot."
A cemetery where 9,300 Americans lay at rest overlooks Omaha Beach, and those who travel there find it hard to comprehend what it must have been like to cross it in full battle gear under a hail of machine gun fire. It's several hundred yards wide, and while it is pristine today, it was called "Bloody Omaha" on June 6, 1944. Thousands died on the beach in an invasion to save the free world.
"We were about to decide, make a big decision," Milt said. "We were going to put an end to Hitler, one way or another. That's what they taught us, you know."
Milt Guion came home early in 1945 after being wounded in action a few months after the battle of the buldge. His friends at the American Legion told FOX 9 News they don't ask him about D-Day because they know it is still a tough subject to talk about. Instead, they wait for him to speak.
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