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Camp Lejeune welcomes veterans to celebrate World War II Day

By Alison Parker
Published On: Apr 24 2014 03:04:50 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 24 2014 03:21:19 PM CDT
CAMP LEJEUNE, ONSLOW COUNTY -

Those at Camp Lejeune welcomed back veterans to celebrate World War II Day.

About 30 World War II Veterans like Maj. C.J. Daigle came out to see what military life is like today.

"I was at Camp Lejeune in 1942, before it was Camp Lejeune." Daigle said. "It was a job, but for me, it was more of a hobby."

Active duty Marines like Lance Cpl. Cody Barbour got to perform a mission to show off some of today's technology -- the rifles, Humvees, amphibious vehicles and helicopters.

"It's a lot of fun -- real intense, real intense," Barbour said. "A lot of moving parts, but once you get the grasp of it, you start moving, and you don't even realize it. You just focus on your main goal."

He says he hopes to learn about the veterans' experiences during the war.

"I just want to hear their stories," Barbour said. "I want to hear their greatest moments and worst moments during World War II."

NewsChannel 12 asked Daigle what the most rewarding part of being in the Marine Corps was:

"Not getting a Purple Heart," Daigle said. "I'm very, very lucky. I love five gunners beside me, but I never got a scratch."

Active duty Marines say it's an honor to meet so many of these veterans.

"I'm very proud of them for what they did for us, so we're all serving," Barbour said. "Once a Marine, always a Marine."

Brigadier General James Lukeman, commanding General of the 2nd Marine Division, says each day, there are fewer and fewer chances to meet these WWII veterans.

"Every chance we get to say thank you and recognize them, we're going to take every opportunity to do that, and it's a great day for it," Lukeman said.

It was a great day for Daigle to have the chance to meet the Marines who look up to him.

"When I was five years old, I wanted to be a Marine," Daigle said. "I had to wait 12 years. I got to be one, and I'm 88 now, and I'm still a Marine."