Donald Wilson, D-Day survivor

Macclenny, FL

My name is Billy J. Gaines Sr. I am a veteran, USMC 1961-1966. I am not writing for myself, though, but for a fellow veteran, a D-Day survivor. He was in the Army and stormed Normandy in an armored car on 6-6-1944 - incidentally, the day my wife was born. Many times he told me that if it was not for an armored car he probably would not be alive. He met a French lady and married her after the war. His name is Donald Wilson, and he had just been put into a nursing home because his wife of 65 years is unable to take care of him. He has never been back to Normandy; he could not afford it and I’m not sure his health would allow it. I’m not sure what I’m asking for other than some recognition for a war hero at the end of his time. I do not know what all he went through over there because like most heroes, he will not talk about it. He went through life never accomplishing anything of great importance and moving frequently, until they moved in across the street from me some 10 years ago. He has become my friend and a good neighbor. A quiet and gentle man that I think the war still haunts to this day. I tried to tell him many times that my generation stands on his shoulders, but he just shrugs and says, "I didn’t do anything." But I know quite the contrary! He is 95 and I’m afraid will not be with us much longer. I just feel someone should know about him and say “thank you.”

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