It’s been 70 years since more than 150,000 United States and Allied Soldiers invaded the beaches of Normandy.
Thousands of lives were lost — but William Roberts is one who is still alive to share his experiences on the battlefield.
“It’s hard to believe that happened 70 years ago. Time went fast and I never thought that I would live to be 101 years old,” William Roberts said.
At 101 years old, Roberts is the oldest veteran at the Gino Merli Veterans Center in Scranton.
The images of D-Day are still fresh in his memory.
“It gives you a funny feeling to know that you’re going to hit the beach and the enemy is waiting for you with live guns there, shells coming in at you,” Roberts said.
Roberts reminisced on getting to Normandy as one of the first wave of soldiers.
“They were hid up in the hills with the heavy guns and what not. Every time there was a shell that went off and if it didn’t make its mark it would hit somebody else on the ground there,” he said.
More than 9,000 people died during the D-Day invasions, but Roberts never worried about death.
“I’m just doing my job and that’s it. Sitting inside of a tank and ready to hit the shore,” Williams said.
As a tank gunner it was weeks before Roberts would leave the beaches.
From there he went on to fight five battles including the Battle of the Bulge.
Looking back on things from 70 years ago, and the lives that were lost… Roberts considers his life a blessing.
“I’m glad I’m here. Because I’m lucky to be here,” Roberts said.
William Roberts will celebrate his 102nd birthday next month.