Local veteran remembers his own personal D-Day hero

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - John Milam Junior, a resident at Clifford Chester Sims State Veterans Nursing Home, said, "It was I guess a terrible time because there were so many killed right there on the beaches."

On the 75th anniversary of D-Day, one Panama City veteran shares his memory of his uncle who fought on the beaches of France in the bloody battle. (WJHG/WECP)

On June 6th, 1944, more than 160-thousand Allied troops landed along the French coastline to fight Nazi Germany.

One of those army men was John Milam Junior's uncle.

"He was baseball pitcher, he was my hero, especially when I saw him in uniform," said Milam.

His uncle Arthur Alderman eventually inspired Milam to join the Air Force. Milam said, "I enlisted in '52, I was 18."

He says growing up, his uncle Arthur rarely spoke of D-Day, "A great many of his squad on boats, landing boats that took them onto shore... they pretty much all died or got wounded," perhaps not wanting to relive the painful memories, "An explosion, a shell landed near him, and an explosion knocked out six inches of shin bone," said Milam.

Arthur Alderman was one of the lucky to have survived. More than nine-thousand would not live to tell their stories of that day.

Milam said, "There's a lot of turmoil in the world now, but it's not like it was then- it's a much better world to live in since people like my uncle died to protect it."

On this 75th anniversary we celebrate people like Milam's uncle, whose sacrifices allowed more than 100-thousand soldiers to begin the slow, hard march across Europe to defeat Adolf Hitler's troops.

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