Oldest living World War II veteran reflects on Memorial Day

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by QUITA CULPEPPER and DENNIS THOMAS

KVUE

Posted on May 28, 2013 at 11:24 AM

AUSTIN — He was born in 1906. There are plenty of pictures and proclamations that help tell the story of Richard Overton's life. All kinds of pictures of any kind you'd want to see.

But there are no photos to show what Overton went through while serving in the U.S Army during World War II.

"You heard in Iwo Jima the water turned to blood? Well, it did," Overton said.

At 107 years old, his memory of the four years he spent fighting in the South Pacific is sharp.

"We'd go from this island we'd do what we're supposed to do there," he said. "I come back and didn't get a scratch on me, not a scratch on me."

Overton's fight to stay alive by killing the enemy, and seeing his fellow soldiers die, cannot be forgotten.

"Sometimes you ain't got no legs, no arms, no heads. And the flies were as big as bees," he said. "They'll keep your dog tags, and you'll keep one, and they'll send the other to your family, and they'll keep the other themselves to put on the grave."

Some memories are too much to bear.

"It don't bother y'all, when you talking about the stuff that we had to go through. I never want to go through it again," Overton said, through tears.

On this Memorial Day, Overton hopes everyone will take the time to remember the brave men and women who served in the armed forces and gave their lives for their country.

"I met a lot of people I talk to, they don't care," he said. "It wasn't easy."

Richard Overton met Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Monday when he came calling at his home to pay tribute to the retired soldier. The two men chatted on the front porch for a spell.

Perry said he was honored by the meeting.

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