Charles Carter, a Vietnam veteran, comes from a family of veterans who have mostly volunteered to serve in the military.
“It was your obligation to go, for your country,” said Carter.
Carter, who oversees the Harrisonburg chapter of American Veterans, signed up in part to honor his uncle, Thomas Humphrey, who served during World War II.
Humphrey taught his nephew about surviving warfare and Carter used those skills overseas in Vietnam.
“Told me how to handle myself, and it's stuck with me. And I got back.”
Humphrey served at Omaha Beach and went with other troops to Normandy beach.
“He told me several times, the hardships and that it was the longest day of his life.”
D-Day led to the eventual end of the war less than a year later. AmVet member, James Mosher, has heard stories of the second great war.
“It breaks your heart,” said Mosher. “All those guys who went out on that beach and got slaughtered.”
Carter's uncle told him stories growing up about the war. He said his family is close to each other through good times and through hard times, like deployment.
“You have no idea what a war is until you've been there and seen the suffering and hardships,” said Carter.
Carter has no doubt that his uncle, and the thousands of other troops who served that day, should be remembered.
“Everybody that was on that beach. All of them were heroes. They got the job done.”
Carter says he still has family serving in the military.