Seventy years ago he was one of the 150,000 allied soldiers who took part in the D-Day invasion. Last week, a central Kentucky veteran returned to France for the first time since World War II to help mark the D-Day anniversary.
Wednesday night WKYT was there when Charlie Wilson of Nicholas County returned to Blue Brass Airport from that trip.
At 88-years-old Charlie Wilson recently re-lived history. For years he didn't talk about the day when he was 18-years-old and was part of the first wave of U.S. troops to storm the beaches of Normandy, France on D-Day. He is talking now and what a story he has to tell.
"Yes sir, I was scared to death. And I was shaking are they going to kill us?" said Wilson.
He survived and never looked back, had he ever thought about returning?
"Couldn't afford it, I was a school principal and when I retired that's all I was making was $19,000 and so I just couldn't afford it."
That's where the country he helped liberate stepped in. The French government paid for Wilson's way back, a trip that was emotional.
"I fell on my knees and said thanks, then I got up and began to realize there is freedom and peace there now."
WKYT was there when Wilson came home to a heroes welcome at Blue Grass Airport Wednesday night. Wilson is part of a generation we are losing fast, but now his story will live on for others to continue telling so we never forget.
"It honored me per se, but it honored all veterans. So I am not anything other than a plain old soldier and veteran and all the veterans are heroes."
A group of high school students from George Rogers Clark High School in Clark county also made the trip with Wilson. Sadly, its estimated this country loses more than 500 World War II veterans every day.