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96-year-old Felipe Regalado earned the Medal of Combat Valor at the 2023 D-Day ceremony at the Boone County War Memorial in downtown Columbia (June 6, 2023 file photo from 939 the Eagle's Brian Hauswirth)

(AUDIO): 96-year-old mid-Missouri veteran receives the Medal of Combat Valor

That’s the sound of the U.S. Navy bell toll during Tuesday’s D-Day tribute at the Boone County Courthouse’s war memorial in downtown Columbia.  The U.S. Exercise Tiger Foundation organized the ceremony to observe the 79th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of the beaches of Normandy, France.

The ceremony included a wreath-laying at the war memorial, and the oldest veteran to ever earn the Medal of Combat Valor received his medal. 96-year-old Felipe Regalado tells the audience that the veterans will never be forgotten. He also tells 939 the Eagle that he’s thankful to ceremony organizers for putting the event together. The U.S. Navy signalman whose mom helped him enlist him at 17 was born in El Paso and later moved to Los Angeles. He now lives at Columbia’s Terrace retirement community.

“This is a lot of pleasure and just a thank you from my heart for all the sacrifices they have done. I think they’re doing a wonderful job,” Mr. Regalado says.

He stood up from his wheelchair with the help of relatives and also presented a rose at the war memorial to fallen military service members. He tells 939 the Eagle that he was at Normandy, but not on D-Day. He spent most of his military service in the Pacific.

“Served throughout the Pacific. The islands, the Philippines, Okinawa, occupational Japan, South Korea, North Korea, China and Manchuria,” says Regalado.

Boone County Presiding Commissioner Kip Kendrick thanks Felipe for his service and his heroism. Commissioner Kendrick joined his two fellow Boone County commissioners at Tuesday’s ceremony and wreath-laying.

“There’s nothing that Boone County can do to adequately express the debt of gratitude that we have for the greatest generation for all those veterans who served, for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, for their families who sacrificed so much. Other than just say thank you, sincerely thank you from the bottom of our heart. It was a wonderful ceremony,” Commissioner Kendrick says.

Tuesday was the 79th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy Beach, the largest seaborne invasion in history.

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