Eugene Roberts, 88, finally realizes that the sacrifices he made 67 years ago have not gone unnoticed.
"Never in my life did I ever dream that I'd have so many handshakes and 'thank yous' and 'we appreciate you for making our country free,'" said Roberts.
Roberts, along with nearly a hundred other area veterans, traveled to Washington D.C. for the first South Plains Honor Flight last year.
"That was worth it. So that is when the thrill comes, 67 years later," he said.
Roberts is a World War II Marine Corps veteran who fought in Saipan and Okinawa from 1944 to 1946. He says the battle of Okinawa was the most grueling action he had ever seen.
"They were hitting all around us and they knocked out at least six or eight ships a day. It's a nerve wracking thing sure. I mean you see all that action all the way around you and you never know whether it's going to be you next or not," Roberts said.
Roberts says although the Marines are tough, both physically and mentally, he says one will never be fully prepared to go to war.
"Anytime you go into war or go into battle, you're going to have the fear in the back of your mind that you might not make it. I don't care how well you're trained."
Roberts says that keeping his eye on the goal was what kept him going.
"Fight to win, fight to win. That was the only thing that was in anybody's mind. We had to win. And if we had not won, we would have been in bad shape today," he said.
Now, 67 years later, Roberts says he could not be more proud to be an American.
"I took a part, I was there. I did my duty and I'm proud to say that I did it, I did it with honor."
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