Utah seeks veterans’ stories to commemorate 70th anniversary of the end of WWII

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) Utahn Robert Vickery was an electrical engineer on a battleship off the shore of Iwo Jima when those heroic U.S. Marines planted the American flag.

“We were watching with our binoculars when wow! The flag went up on Mount Serbachi, but then it went down and the groans came down with it and then about an hour later it went up again. More cheers and shouts, and it stayed up,. It’s hard to express how much that meant, because it gave hope that the marines would not be pushed off the island, and the United States would win that war,” said Vickery.

Jake Tuellear was a fighter pilot during the war. He had a bird’s eye view of the invasion of Normandy. He was flying his fighter looking for Germans to take out.

“I saw thousand and thousands of young men 19, 20, 21, get off their landing craft in Normandy. A half mile too soon where the water is very deep and I saw men drown taking on the German cannons embedded in rock,” said Tuellar.

Tuellar and Vickery are just two of the nearly 70,000 Utahns who fought in World War II. This year we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the war and the state of Utah wants to help preserve their memories.

“Our project is to reach out to our World War II veterans to ask them to go fill out a document that has been put together by our department, and tell us basic things about their service and their thoughts and where they were when the war ended,” said Gary Harter, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Veteran & Military Affairs.

Vickery will never forget the day the war ended.

“Went downtown to celebrate with sirens and bells and oh… It was great excitement,” said Vickery.

The State of Utah is hoping you won’t either.

There are 7,000 surviving WWII veterans living in Utah. The goal is to locate as many stories as possible before Veteran Day.

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