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Local WWII veteran shares memorable moments from his service

Henry, 94-years-old, reflects on his most memorable moments in combat. (Courtesy: Walter Henry)

"Oh boy, I guess to put it in a nutshell, I was in the war as a teenager and two years later I probably came out as a wise old man," said Walter Henry.

Walter Henry was 19 years old when he entered the Army in 1943. He attended a military school, Norwich University, which automatically booked him in. Little did he know he would soon be fighting one of the biggest battles in history: the Battle of the Bulge.

Henry encountered a setback when he was chosen to help and artillery spotter. His hand was hit by a shrapnel, taking him out of combat for a few days. He says the experience gave him a new mentality.

"You were scared most of the time. You develop sort of a fatalist attitude. You know you're going to die, you just don't know when," Henry said.

Henry was known for his "coolness under fire." As a squad leader, he says his wife and family in Vermont pushed him through. When he returned, he was recognized for his hard work. He was awarded a Good Conduct Medal, Sergeant Stripe and his favorite, a Bronze Star.

"I don't know how many Bronze Star medals there were. But, I was the only one in my squad who got the Bronze Star. "

Henry describes leaving battle as the saddest part of leaving war. Many of the buddies who fought in combat with him, didn't leave with him on the Queen Elizabeth.

"I mean, for those of us who are in it. You make a lot of the fast friendships. Maybe you'll be an artillery barrage that day or gone after that. It's rough. You get habit to stuff you never knew. Life is a fragile thing when you think of it in those terms," he said.

After two years in the army infantry, Henry had something to look forward to at home. A Purple Heart. A signature of one of his most memorable memories.

"I can remember coming into New York harbor, I saw that Statue of Liberty and I started to cry. That was the first emotion I had for a long time. Tears falling down my cheeks because we were home, we made it," he said.

Walter Henry, now 94 years old, says he doesn't regret anything he has been through. He looks at it as an experience to share with his grandchildren.

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