Family and friends gathered Tuesday to say their goodbyes to one of Chattanooga's World War II veterans.

William "Bill" G. Cooper, Jr.
died Thursday and was buried with full military honors Tuesday at Chattanooga National Cemetery.

Seventy years after WWII, it's easy to forget the sacrifice some of our neighbors, like Mr. Cooper, made during war. Born on Lookout Mountain, Cooper was a decorated veteran, including the Purple Heart and POW Medal.

Cooper was flying a B-26 Bomber when he was shot down over Northern Italy on October 19, 1944. He was taken to Stalag Luft III in Sagan, Germany where he stayed a POW for almost seven months.

On several occasions in the late nineties and early 2000's, Cooper told his story to Channel 3. As part of the Veterans History Project, it's now preserved in the
Library of Congress
. His story of surviving seven months as a prisoner of war in Germany is forever on record.

Cooper worked at both Dixie Yarns and Brock Candy Company.

An estimated 555 WWII veterans die each day.