NATCHITOCHES, LA (KSLA) - The men and women who served our country during World War II are leaving us rapidly as time marches forward.
With much of the "Greatest Generation" now in their late 80s and 90s, hundreds of these veterans are dying every day, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
As the U.S. works to honor their legacy and share their stories we strive to do the same at KSLA.
"I'm Kanick Lewis, I was a corporal in the United States Army."
December 2, 1941, just 5 days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Louisiana native was drafted into the military. Seven months later, he was sent to war.
"16 days and 15 nights that I was on," explained Lewis as he recalled his journey to the European front, "I look up blue sky, look down blue water."
76 years later, he can still recall his job as a driver for a Quartermaster Trucking Company in the European Theatre.
"They was bringing in all the way from 5,000 to 6,000 people on the ship," said Lewis. "I was hauling 31 to the load, with the lieutenant or captain, who ever it might've been. I'd carry them and drop them, come on back and get another load. It was always out in the bushes, in the woods."
Then after nearly 3 years on the war front, "The lieutenant said we've come to get you you can go home, I said go home? I said Lieutenant don't tell me that, he said well I'll tell you, Lewis, if you don't want to go, I will go in your place. I looked at him then you know, I said you ain't joking around, he said no."
Lewis then began his transition home on May 28th, 1945.
"I must've been overjoyed, glad I got out and fell flat on the ground (laughing)."
From there, Lewis went to Mississippi where he passed up $300 as a reenlistment bonus and opted to end his military career.
"He looked at me and he smiles and he said you got enough of it, and I said yes sir I got enough of it. He says that's all right, here's your discharge and I hope you good luck."
Lewis returned to Louisiana where he eventually met and married Annie, the love of his life for the last 55 years.
"It's being right, treating each other, that's the secret you know."
At 98 years old, there's a lot Lewis forgets, but his time serving our country is something that never fades away.
"It's a great honor to be and knowing that you was part of back in them days, that generation that's fighting for your country which is the United States I can't explain it like I want to."