BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - 72 years ago, American soldiers charged the beaches of Normandy, France in a historic World War II battle that would be known as D-Day.
On Monday, veterans of that historic fight were honored, including a man that lives in Denham Springs.
John Rogers, 98, said he's surprised he was able to accept the French Legion of Honor. On D-Day, he thought he was a goner.
"The first island I landed on, I saw all these GI's laying out there dead. [They had] been shot in the back of the head," Rogers said. "So then I went to the next island, and I saw all the all the GI's running, and they were all getting shot at and killed."
Rogers was on the coast of Normandy, France. Somehow, he managed to survive.
"So I just decided that I would just walk slowly, and I did walk slowly and nobody, not a person shot at me. I couldn't believe it," Rogers said.
Rogers made it off the beach and was part of the bloody battles that helped liberate Europe from Nazi Germany.
Rogers and other D Day veterans were honored with the prestigious medal at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Rogers lives in Denham Springs, and he taught high school students in Shreveport for over 40 years.
Rogers' son Chuck said he looks up to his father and other veterans as role models.
"It's a generation we owe a lot to," Chuck Rogers said. "I think there's a lot that can be learned from them and I think that we need to carry those lessons forward, and that there are times when you need to step up."
John Rogers lost both of his legs because of diabetes, but he still enjoys visiting and volunteering at the museum.