Oxford, NY (WBNG Binghamton) - While books record our nations history, those who lived it can share their memories.
Stories of war and service are plentiful at the New York State Veterans Home at Oxford.
Action News Reporter Natalie Jenereski introduces us to a World War II Veteran whose story is a history book worth hearing.
1940 is a year that Bill Barden will never forget.
"Oh boy, the day I got out of bootcamp, and they said today, you're a Marine. I think it was one of the proudest days of my life," said Barden.
But the young marine from Binghamton couldn't fathom what his new title would put before him.
It meant battle and bloodshed in the South Pacific during World World II.
"And all of a sudden you see the bomb bay doors open up, and here come the bombs coming down. You hit the fox hole and you're bouncing all around, and you think is this is? Is this it?" said Barden.
Surviving one battle, only to fight another.
A debilitating injury in Peleliu meant an end to his service.
He was awarded the Purple Heart and Silver Star, but it was only the beginning of torment for Barden.
Decades later, memories of ambushes are triggered by fireworks and war movies.
"Whenever I hear Taps it's like having a knife drove through you. You think all those guys when you hear that Taps. I think what brings it back is when I think of the guys of Korea, and Vietnam, and even now. Over there being slaughtered, for what? For what?" said Barden.
Barden says for him, every day is Memorial Day.
"It never goes away, and a lot of times, you have to fight within yourself to not think about it. I want to wipe it out. I want it there but I don't. I want it there but I don't," said Barden.
1940: the year that Barden will never forget ,and what came after, he hopes Americans never forget either.
In Oxford, Natalie Jenereski, WBNG-TV Action News.
Barden was a Sergeant in the First Marine, Third Battalion, L-Company.
Two of his sons fought in Vietnam.
He just celebrated his 90th birthday last Thursday.