D-Day was a major turning point in World War 2. Thousands of American’s and Allied forces launched a combined effort to defeat Adolph Hitler. The American’s involvement helped lead to the defeat of German forces in Europe, but World War 2 survivor Bob McLean tells us a lot more happened that we’ll never hear about.
"People don’t know what happened. They hear word of mouth and read some… a little bit in the papers about World War 2, but the newer generations are… it’s the way we looked at World War 1. It’s history."
It may be history, but the war still lives on in the minds of those who served. Bob McLean saved the lives of dozens of soldier’s who’s boats had been hit by torpedos. Those men probably consider him a hero, but Bob also has to live with the horrors of retrieving hundreds that died.
"These thoughts are in my mind and they just show up. Especially when I can’t get to sleep. They sort of move around in my mind and come forward, so I can’t get rid of them. They’re permanently there."
Bob’s learned to live with the memories and doesn’t let the past stop him from enjoying the present.
"I’m glad I’m here and still have both legs and both arms. You know I’m gratified to know that the public has always been grateful, and so I’m just as grateful as they are that… it makes life worth living."
Bob turns 96 on June 20th, but it’s probably his attitude toward life that keeps him young, even with the occasional reminders of D-Day.
"My mother always said: go through life with a smile. That’s the best way to go….and you cry alone. Don’t be doing a lot of crying. Keep smiling. Good advice right?"
Coming from someone still smiling at 95 years old, I’d say that’s good advice.