A 97-year-old World War II veteran just came home to Tulsa after going back to Omaha Beach for the first time since he fought there on D-Day.
FOX23 News has talked to veteran Bill Parker several times in the past few months. We first introduced you to Parker in November 2021. He shared graphic memories he had held onto since WWII when he fought on Omaha Beach in 1944. He told her nightmares of those memories haunted him for decades.
Then, in February 2022, Parker spoke about a trip back to Belgium where he fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
That trip brought back more painful memories, but Parker was glad he went because the people in Belgium treated him like royalty for protecting their country. Parker said that experience opened him up to the idea of going back to Omaha Beach. Heading to France in June of 2022, Parker said, “I’m glad I went,” when he returned home.
Two days before the 78th anniversary of D-Day, Parker stepped foot on Omaha beach for the second time.
“I stood there and looked at that beach, I don’t know for how long and they let me, nobody bothered me, just let me stand there and I cried,” he said.
The last time Parker stood on Omaha Beach, it was a war zone. This time, children were playing, and people were swimming.
He said taking this trip and seeing the change in scenery has made his horrible nightmares of his time fighting go away. Now, he dreams of horses and bull riding.
“I think the trip put a closure to what I’d done 78 years ago.”
Parker said he never expected this to be the case, or he would have gone back sooner.
The veteran said the memories are still there, but now, they’re on his terms. He can think about them and then put them away.
When asked what life feels like now, Parker said, “Well, it feels good.”
At 97, he’s finally found his freedom. It just took a lifetime of sacrifice to get there.