This June will be the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy, France.
With the National D-Day Memorial in our backyard, we wanted to share with you some stories of local soldiers who fought in World War II.
Meet Carlos Showalter from Buchanan.
The Marine Corps veteran was just 17-years-old when he enlisted. So young, his parents had to sign him up.
Training a year and a half before going over-seas, years later he can still remember every detail about his experience serving during World War II.
“We left Maui on the 27th of Dec. 1944 and sailed for 51 days on an L-S-T and arrived at the Islands off Iwo Jima on the 19th of January. That operation took 26 days, my company traveled more than 2 and 2 thirds miles on that island. 70-thousand Marines landed there, that landing a battalion of the 27th Marine Regiment lost 550 men the first day. When the operation was over after 26 days they had 111 men left out of 927 men,” said Showalter.
War stories turned memories engraved into his life.
“It wasn’t much fun I’ll tell you that,” said Showalter.
And now those memories are engraved at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford and the World War II memorial.
Places Carlos treasures.
“I’ve been on the tour to Washington and it’s something every vet should see and go to. Once you go through that and I’ve always said we’ve left all the heroes over there. And we did, but once you get into that World War II memorial and congratulating you and hugging you, you think well maybe I am a hero. It’s what it feels like. That’s it. What else you got?,” said Showalter.
That encouragement leading Carlos to spend time in schools sharing his World War II stories.
Including time he spent on Japanese volcano islands during the war.
“When we got back to the states there were 38 men left out of 238. 16 not casualties, and by God’s grace one of them told you this story today. Semper fidelis. Always faithful to God, Country and Corps,” said Showalter.
But he says sharing wasn’t always easy for many vets.
“Well we all are guilty of the same thing we didn’t talk about it until we were in our seventies. We all knew what we’d been through we had it all in our head,” said Showalter.
Detailed memories and stories Carlos says he will continue to tell as long as he can
“We’re only going to be around 3-4 more years, then the greatest generation will be history and if we’re not telling it now it won’t be told,” said Showalter.