It was 60 years ago Saturday when Tallahassee resident John Staples rushed the beaches of Iwo Jima and helped fight one of the most significant battles of World War II.
Mr. Staples is dusting off his memories of that long battle as he prepares to return to Iwo Jima in a couple of weeks.
"Look at all those ships just here celebrating my birthday, when you're scared, you joke, you know?” recalled John Staples.
John Staples was just turning 23 years old on the fateful day known as D-Day, the bloodiest day of World War II.
"There were approximately 7,000 marines killed on Iwo Jima, which was about a third of all the Marine Corp deaths during World War II," added Staples.
Now, Staples is preparing to go back to the small island in the South Pacific on March 5. Staples is returning for a ceremony to commemorate the battle of Iwo Jima and the soldiers who fought for their countries.
Although it's been 60 years since the battle of Iwo Jima began, Staples' memories are still as vivid as when he was 23.
"Even though we had lots of fighting left to do and lots of the island left to take, it was a good feeling when we saw that flag in the air," said Staples.
Staples is celebrating his 83rd birthday on this D-Day anniversary and hopes to find many other Iwo Jima survivors when he returns to the island in a few days.
John Staples' five children purchased this trip for him to return for the Iwo Jima ceremony as a Christmas gift.