This photo has been seen by millions of people around the world. It is one of the most enduring images of D-Day.
Bill Chaney is pictured front and center during the invasion of Normandy in June 1944.
Chaney married his girlfriend just three weeks after coming back to America. They've been married for 65 years.
"People don't appreciate what went on over there. If we hadn't have won, you'd be speaking German or Japanese now, or we wouldn't be here. It just had to be won and we won it," said Bill Chaney.
By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- It was 65 years ago Saturday that America defeated the Nazis. Defense Secretary Robert Gates marked VE or Victory in Europe Day at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas.
Eisenhower was Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces during the war and planned the attack on Normandy.
A Tulsa war hero fought on the beaches of Normandy and is speaking out about fighting in some of World War II's deadliest battles.
Bill Chaney remembers D-Day like it was yesterday.
"I didn't know if I'd ever get back. None of us did, but it was just something that had to be done," said Chaney, who is a WWII Veteran.
Chaney was there, front and center, during the invasion of Normandy in June 1944.
"There was a lot of praying going on. If you wasn't scared, you wasn't there," said Chaney.
Chaney later fought under General Patton in the famous Battle of the Bulge. He was shot in the back and taken prisoner by the Germans. He was later awarded the Purple Heart.
"I got all shot up and I got quite a bit of shrapnel in my back still," Chaney said.
Chaney wrote to his girlfriend for three years while fighting for his country. He married her just three weeks after coming back to America. They've been married for 65 years and his wife, Ann, still has those old love letters.
"He's not that eloquent anymore," Ann said.
Chaney says 65 years after Victory in Europe, the significance of the war is lost on today's youth.
"People don't appreciate what went on over there. If we hadn't have won, you'd be speaking German or Japanese now, or we wouldn't be here. It just had to be won and we won it," said Chaney.
Chaney hopes today's teenagers will appreciate the sacrifice behind the photos -- long after voices have drifted away.
Chaney and a group of other Tulsa area vets used to travel to high schools discussing WWII, but he says he has been unable to do that in recent years because of his age.
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