NEWVILLE, Pa.–(WHTM) A local World War II Veteran was honored this week for his service in the Battle of the Bulge.
90-year-old Corporal Charles Shaffer says his war memories are still vivid.
“You were scared all the time,” Corporal Shaffer said. “Because when you heard a shell come over you thought maybe that’s the one for you. And you always had that on your mind”
At 18 years old, the Newville native was drafted as a machine gunner and set over to France to fight through the cold, fog and snow.
“My feet was froze, and everything else, it turned black,” Corporal Shaffer said. “I thought I was going to die. Couldn’t get help right there.”
He’s not one to talk up his experience.
“It’s hard,” he said. “You get flashes back and forth now and then. But that’s something you have to live with.”
So Corporal Shaffer was surprised to get an invitation to a ceremony honoring his service in Washington, D.C.
“Well, I thought maybe they wanted us to come down and pay for the damage we did over in France,” he joked.
All kidding aside, Corporal Shaffer and his family made the trip. The French named him a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor as a way to say “thank you” for fighting to save France.
“I was proud to do it. And I was thankful they gave me that medal,” Corporal Shaffer said.
It’s the work after the war that this veteran says he’s most proud of.
“I met my wife and we got married here and we’ve been here ever since,” Corporal Shaffer said. “69 years coming up :56 Her and I built this house right here.”