Local WWII veteran remembers D-Day
The nation is pausing to remember and thank World War II veterans on Thursday, June 6, the sixty-ninth anniversary of D-Day.
We sat down with a local veteran who survived the D-Day invasion as he recalled his time in the Army.
Henry Mitchell has a map that he keeps, showing his trek across Europe that he'll never forget. "I've seen bombs fall from planes," said Mitchell.
The World War II veteran says he was just 19 years old on June 6, 1944, D-Day, and he was on the second wave of troops storming Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. "We went up the hill. We got set up and of course we took up 100 rounds of ammunition with us," he said.
Mitchell served on the front lines in the artillery unit and says one image from that day is burned into his memory. "I remember seeing hundreds of dead soldiers laying everywhere. They had moved them to the sides so no one would run over or step on them with vehicles," added Mitchell.
Over the next 11 months, Mitchell and his fellow soldiers were on missions through France and Germany. One of those missions was picking up German soldiers who had surrendered. "I was also in the Battle of the Bulge and that was about as rough as the beach was, because that weather was cold. It was in December and the temperature was 15 to 18 degrees at night," added Mitchell.
May 8, 1945 was Mitchell's last day in the Army during World War II, which he spent in Czechoslovakia. It's better known as V-E Day, marking the end of the war.
69 years later, Mitchell is proud of the awards he's collected during his service and his coat decorated with Medals of Honor that almost fits. "I'm just glad I was able to make the sacrifice," he said.
We learned Mitchell's time in the military didn't end after World War II; the veteran tells us he later served in the Korean War.
Copyright © 2014 by WCYB. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.