Local veteran remembers D-Day
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Most people have to learn about historic events like D-Day from books, but one of the remaining soldiers who was there lives in the Lowcountry.
Arthur Guest served with the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, which was the first African-American unit to come ashore at Normandy.
Guest was drafted in 1942. He says the memories are still unpleasant even 70 years later.
"Every time I think about it, it makes me very unhappy to see what sin man can do," said Guest. "I remember a lot of ugly things, people dying."
He was in his twenties and says there wasn't time to be afraid.
"You are trying to survive," said Guest. "Be ready. Our job was to hold the beach. We were not to advance. The infantry when they hit the beach they keep on going but we were supposed to hold the beach."
He says soldiers did what they needed to do to survive.
"When you hit that sandy beach, you had to dig what you call a foxhole. You had a dig a hole quick as you can because the Germans were sending a plane over and just spray the whole beach with bullets," said Guest. "The only chance you had was to be in your foxhole."
He said they spent months following D-Day in foxholes, but finally started living in tents in November.
Sadly, many of his fellow soldiers never made it back home.
"There are so many women become widowed, children not seeing their fathers that they had heard about. War is sinful, war is never peaceful. I hope there will never be one like that again," said Guest.
Guest is thankful every day that he survived the now historic event.
"Lord spared me here to talk to you and I have both my hands here, both eyes, can think, got my wife,' said Guest.
Arthur Guest has what many did not: his life.
"Let us not to forget the calamity and the sadness and the tragedy of war," said Guest. "War will never bring peace and happiness."
Guest served from 1942 until 1945. He and other soldiers in his unit were recognized by President Barack Obama for their service.