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Honoring veterans on D-Day

Published On: Jun 06 2013 07:50:32 PM EDT
Updated On: Jun 06 2013 10:54:55 PM EDT
Honoring veterans on D-Day
ROANOKE, Va. -

D-Day was crucial to the freedom of so many.

One Roanoke man has made it his duty for the past 29 years to remember those World War Two veterans who fought proudly for their country.

WDBJ7 spoke to him and others about what today means.

For those who lived D-Day, it was the fight of a lifetime.

"I didn't have time to get scared," said veteran John Kessler

Bernard Marie, a native of France, says not enough has been done to honor World War II veterans. For the last 29 years, this celebration is his way to show them respect.

"The Americans didn't do anything for the World War II.  They started to do something after the 50 year anniversary," Marie said.

Marie was a small boy living in Normandy when the American soldiers landed.  He himself is not a veteran but feels everyone must acknowlege what these men did for their country.

"We got the freedom.  That's enough to say thank you to somebody, especially since they paid with their own life," Marie added.

Marie continues to bring together veterans. Some, are highly decorated and natives of Roanoke, like John Kessler.

"Two bronze stars for valor, two purple hearts, 5 combat stars, presidential citation, the French croix du guerre, the Belgian croix du guerre," Kessler said.

But, for Kessler,like so many other veterans, it wasn't about the glory or the medals, it was about their committment to country.

"We did what we had to do.  There was no ifs, ands or buts.They told us to do and we done it," he said.

A job each of these men gladly took on.