On the anniversary of D-Day, First Coast News is remembering and honoring the brave men who invaded the beaches of Normandy to fight for freedom.
"Now, I think about it. It just scares me. I have dreams all the times. Nightmares," Frank Purpura said.
Frank Purpura was only 17-years-old when he entered the United States Navy. He quit school to join the military after one of his uncles died in Pearl Harbor.
"You know a lot of people don't realize what America stands for. I think it's one of the greatest countries in the world. I would go back in again if they called me."
On D-Day, June 6, 1944, he served as a small boat coxswain and landed troops on the beaches of Normandy.
"We had planes as far as you can see. Ships you could almost walk across. It was unbelievable and those Germans were giving us hell."
Mr. Purpura said he wasn't nervous or scared on D-Day. He said he was too young to be afraid.
"Just crazy kids. We just took orders and did what we were supposed to do."
75 years later, the memories from that fateful day and the honor and recognition he later received, cover the walls of his home. But, the memories that can't be seen or touched reside in his heart.
"I always keep my prayers for my buddies. You always think about them."
Now at the age of 93, Mr. Purpura says he hopes this current generation and the one to come will always remember what he and his comrades did on that day.
"They see my hat and they say thank you for your service and that makes you feel so good."