Locals remember, honor D-Day - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Locals remember, honor D-Day

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EAST RIDGE, TN (WRCB) - For one local man June 6th represents two things. Murel Winans turned 19 years old as snipers fired his way on the beaches of Normandy. Unlike many of his friends, he survived and is now turning 89.

70 years later, the East Ridge resident still remembers his 19th birthday vividly. He was serving in the Navy's hospital corp and landed on the beaches of Normandy early in the morning. Gunfire was all around him. He was armed with medication and bandages.

"You don't forget something like that," World War Two Veteran Murel Winans said.

An estimated 156,000 troops landed in Normandy on D Day. Winans was a medic with the 6th Naval Beach Battalion. They shipped out from England at 5 a.m.

"We was on the beach at 6:30. You didn't want to be there," he said.

He dodged bullets, searching for soldiers who needed medical help. It's a job he wasn't drafted for, he volunteered.

"It's something I thought I had to do," Winans said,"If you saw a strap or something sticking out of the sand, you knew there's somebody attached to it."

He and his friend stood about six feet apart digging the sand.

"I hollered at him and he didn't answer and I went over there and looked closer and there was a big purple spot right there in his head. Sniper got him," Winans said.

He says God had other plans for him.

"I got one little scratch right there. A little piece of shrapnel hit me," he said.

France honored Winans with the Legion of Honor Award in 2012, which is the highest military honor the country gives.

Stories like these are ones a local non-profit is trying to preserve for current and future generations.

"I think our young people have a very jaded idea of what war is based on video games and movies and things like that," 6th Cavalry Museum Executive Director Chris McKeever said.

In Fort Oglethorpe the 6th Cavalry Museum is trying to educate locals on what those servicemen endured.

"For them, all these years later to remember it is just amazing," McKeever said.

For the next week the museum features a traveling exhibit from Dalton State focusing on how Georgians, specifically, contributed during World War Two. They also have a Remembering Our Heroes motorcycle ride Saturday, June 7th.

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