COLUMBUS, Ga. – The world is remembering one of the largest battles in the history of mankind Monday on the 72nd Anniversary of D-Day. Two American heroes were just miles apart off the coast of Omaha Beach in June of 1944, but it wasn’t until decades later that their paths crossed.
Jim Wooters and Charles Maupin were just miles apart during D-Day 72 years ago.
“It was an experience that I wouldn’t take anything for. It was an honor. That was another war that rid the world of Hitler’s acts of tyranny,” Maupin said.
They didn’t meet until fate brought them together a few years ago at a Columbus retirement community. They met each other while both living in Covenant Woods.
“I don’t have to explain it to him and he doesn’t have to explain it to me because we know what each other went through,” Wooters said.
Maupin, who was in the 29th Division of the 175th Regiment, describes the morning of June 6, 1944.
“I looked out over the Channel and as far as I could see was ships. Ships of all sizes all headed to the coast of Normandy and carried soldiers who awaited their fate,” Maupin explained.
Wooters’ ship also came through the English Channel. He was aboard the USS Arkansas, which is the oldest battleship in the fleet.
“The odds looked like they were so great against us. We really didn’t think that we’d come out of it,” Wooters said.
He says he is very fortunate they made it out of the war alive.
“During the entire war, we did not get hit a single time,” Wooters said.
Maupin says if Americans hadn’t gotten involved in the war, the situation in today’s world would be a lot different.
“We’ve got to remember those guys who gave their last measure of devotion from Omaha Beaches and Utah and other beaches to gain the freedom that we have today. A freedom they were not able to enjoy,” Maupin said.
Covenant Woods recognized Maupin and Wooters in a “D-Day Remembrance” ceremony Monday afternoon where they dedicated the Bemon McBride Veterans Garden.