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Chuck Garner, a police officer in republic says June sixth, 1944 was the worst day of his life'and he says the only way to explain the horror of living through that day is to refer people to the World War II movie "Saving Private Ryan."
Only in the last five years has Garner been able to talk about his experiences in world war two. Now at the age of 79, he says it's important to share his story because young people need to know the price that was paid for the prosperity they now enjoy.
Garner was part of a combat engineer battalion that landed on Omaha beach before the infantrymen. Last year, he took a trip to Northern France and walked the shores of the beach where he landed decades earlier. One of the most poignant things he saw during his visit was a letter written by a German major about the invasion.
Giving credit to Missouri's World War II veterans has taken a long time'it was only a couple of years ago when state lawmakers set aside money to provide medals to Missouri veterans of World War II. This Sunday, many of those medals will be handed out in ceremonies across the state. Though Garner won't receive his during the ceremony, he's expecting it to arrive in the mail later this month. He says the state is slow in recognizing the contributions of World War II vets. In addition to receiving a medal for his participation in World War II, Garner and other d-day vets will receive a replica of the fiftieth anniversary "Jubilee of Liberty" medal.