Seventy years ago, troops stormed the beaches in Normandy, France in the largest amphibious assault ever. This invasion made a huge impact on the Allied push back against the Nazis in World War II..
"I just thought I needed to serve," World War II veteran Paul Cedar said. Cedar served overseas in Milne Bay, New Guinea for four months during World War II as the U.S. fought back Japanese forces in the Pacific. "I was just a seaman to begin with. I did a little bit of everything. I cut trees and I poured concrete," Cedar said.
Cedar said when he arrived the Allies had already began to push Japan back in the many island nations. "On up the island, they didn't have anything secure when we got there, except for that tip, and the Australians with some help of the Americans had secured that part of the island, and that was the first place the Japanese were turned around," Cedar said.
He said propaganda from the Japanese told them to surrender, but of course they fought on.
A big step forward in World War II was D-Day, but Cedar said they had so many invasions going on in the Pacific, it wasn't even on his radar. "I never heard anything about D-Day.," Cedar said. Even though, they were on the other side of the world and unaware of what was going on at the time, Cedar said it was an extremely significant day. "That was a very important battle because that's when they landed in Normandy and it was pretty important," Cedar said.
It was an invasion that paved the path to maintain our freedom. Some veterans who served after World War II say men like Cedar are the ones who ensured our freedom today. "They liberated all of Europe. They fought for our freedom. We just appreciate everything that they did for us," Cherokee Co. Veterans Affairs Volunteer Michael Hockey said.
And, as a way to show his appreciation, Hockey is helping out with the 9th Annual Veteran Appreciation Day. The special event will happen at the Cherokee Fair Grounds June 7 from 9:00a.m. to 3:00p.m. All the money raised will go toward veterans in the area. "This thing is getting bigger and bigger every year and it's mainly here to help the veterans get what they need for help," Cherokee County Veterans Affairs Director Dana Evans said.
Veteran appreciation day will include a ceremony that recognizes those who served in World War II, as well as patriotic songs, and guest speakers.
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