As D-Day moved the Allied effort in Europe forward, thousands of Central Georgians were fighting in the Pacific.

At age 16, Lowell Taylor begged his mom to let him join the military.

"My mother had to sign for me," he said. "She didn't want to, but she finally did but I was the youngest male in the class and the rest of them had gone, and I was two years younger than the rest of my classmates, so I had some catching up to do."

91-year-old Lowell Taylor says he only served 11 months overseas in the Naval reserves during World War II, but they left an imprint on the teenager.

"They put me on a ship and they sent me to Pearl Harbor," he recalled. "They put me on a ship, on a tanker, and we carried a load of fuel into Japan because that place was devoid -- it didn't look like there was ever nobody living there."

At that point, the United States had dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"Man, let me tell you something -- there was nothing there. I mean, the shipyard was nothing but a big mess," Lowell said. "And outside of that, there was nothing out there -- it was just blank."

Many years after his naval service, Lowell did make it back to Japan on a business trip. That's where his real pride for the United States comes through.

"And that's why we are blessed, because we look after people," he said tearfully. "We might whip you, but we're going to look after you. You gonna be looked after and you're probably going to be better off than you ever was, so I'm thankful for that and how we treat people."

Earlier this year, Lowell and dozens of other veterans took an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.

"We visited the national cemetery, saw things at the national cemetery, seen the honor guard -- what they do and how they work there. It made you feel good to see all of the things people were doing and people were not being left out," he recalled.

Lowell went on to serve in the Army during the Korean War. He says he never felt left out as a veteran and is grateful he lives under the red, white, and blue.

"When you see what we got as opposed to what some of the other countries got in my travels, you just thank the Lord you live in America, because it is the greatest -- it is the greatest country in the world," he said.

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