Local vet remembers lives lost during WWII

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PUNTA GORDA, Fla.- Millions of Americans are taking a moment to remember the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about all those guys I lost out there, friends of mine,” said Julius Gervan.

Gervan is turning 96 years old this year.

“Lucky to be here today, that’s all I can say.”

It’s that luck he credits to coming home from the battlefield. He survived a kamikaze attack while fighting in World War II.

Many of his fellow soldiers were killed when the plane hit their vessel. Just a few feet of distance saved his life.

“I was in the engine room right below them.”

This Memorial Day, Gervan is taking a moment to stop and remember. He was joined by hundreds of others who gathered in Punta Gorda to pay their respects.

Most importantly, Gervan’s daughter was by his side.

“These people really did suffer years ago, and there were so many lives lost, and that’s happening again now,” said Judith Briggs, Gervan’s daughter.

From stories of war shared, to a moment of silence, the service on Monday remembered the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

After that kamikaze attack, Gervan came home to Florida.

“They asked me do you want to go home? I said, I’m ready to get out of here now.”

But, Gervan says he’ll always carry with him his time overseas, protecting his country and defending freedom.

The memorial service concluded with one thought, freedom comes with a cost. While it’s a high price to pay, it’s a cost that will never live in vain.

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