99-year-old D-Day veteran remembers service

Published: Jun. 6, 2019 at 6:32 PM EDT
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By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News

June 6, 2019

LOWNDES COUNTY, Ga. (WCTV) -- In South Georgia, he's a familiar face, building homes all across Cecil. But, Vernon Guthrie is also a part of history.

For more than 25 years, Guthrie has been at the Guthrie Lumber Company. At 99-years-old, he never misses a day.

"I like being around people, got a lot of good friends," he said. "No matter what goes wrong, I can kind of sense coming on."

But, 75 years ago, Guthrie's world was a different picture.

"I knew then them people meant business," Guthrie explained. "I knew there was something wrong there. I had to do something."

A border section sergeant in World War II, Guthrie stormed the beaches of Normandy on June 7, 1944.

"We got into the shore, got into the first hedge rows that was pretty close to the shore. The boy that was with me, my runner, me and him jumped over a hedge row and they shot him twice," he remembered. "From there on, it was just fighting."

Drafted when he was 21, Guthrie thought he was too small. But, he was ready.

"I said, 'Doc, they won't have me in the army will they?' He got through examining me, he said, 'If you got anything to do you better do it, anything you need to take care of because you'll be in the army in a little bit.'"

Now, decades passed, his days in uniform are never forgotten.

"About what I think about when I think about the war, just thousands getting killed. I try not to dwell on it," Guthrie said.

"I just think people ought not take for granted what these men did all these years ago so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have today," said Ron Guthrie, Vernon's grandson. "It's a big deal."