D-Day Looking Back 75 Years: World War II memories live on at Port Charlotte veterans home
PORT CHARLOTTE - World War II survivors are more elusive as time goes by. But inside the walls of the Douglas T. Jacobson State Veterans’ home in Port Charlotte, memories still come alive.
"I served in the South Pacific during World War II," resident Richard Keyes said.
Said fellow World War II veteran Dale Schmitt: "Kamikazes, dive bombers."
As America remembers D-Day 75 years later, Navy veterans Keyes and Schmitt are recalling their time in the war. Both men were wounded while serving in the Pacific.
"It blew me off of the ship into the water, and I was in a coma for three weeks," Schmitt said of the sneak attack.
“I got hit by a hot oil line. I have scars here, back across my head," Keyes said.
Keyes also showed the battle scar on his arm. He’s 92 now. Schmitt showed us his Navy tattoo on his arm. He’s 96.
And 98-year old Navy veteran Anna Wojtalik can still recall D-Day.
“It was a horrible time to have to send our men over there," she said.
When this 120-bed veterans home in Port Charlotte opened in 2004, more than half of them were World War II veterans. Today, that number is down to about 20.
“There’s not many of us left," Keyes said, "but we’re still here some of us.”