PENSACOLA, Fla. (WALA) - As Memorial Day weekend kicks off, many folks will be taking to the beaches or just enjoying an extra day off.
However, it's always important to remember the reason we can celebrate at all – our nation's veterans.
Ret. Marine Corps Colonel Mac Miller, 98, said the weekend reminds him of the men he served with that were killed in battle.
"All I do is sort of go back through these memories we're talking about and rejoice that I made it back and I think of some of my comrades that didn't," Miller said.
Miller graduated from the Naval Academy in 1937 and said he always dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot. He resigned from the Navy and joined the Marine Corps in 1940.
A year later, Miller received his Wings and went on to fly in 140 combat missions throughout the Pacific Theater in World War II.
Miller was taught how to fly a F4U Corsair, the most capable fighter-bomber of WWII, by Charles Lindbergh.
"It's kind of like being on a good football team - you couldn't wait to get in the game. People always ask me, 'How does it feel the first time you start shooting at someone?'" Miller said. "I remember one time I was headed out and the enemy was headed in. I was firing and he was firing - it was like I wasn't even there and something was happening in the movies."
Miller said he dreamed of flying ever since idolizing fighter pilots of World War I.
Miller said despite numerous close calls in battle, including nearly being shot down, his biggest concern came as a flight commander tasked to keep his squad safe.
FOX10 asked Miller if he had anything to say to the men and women serving today. He related their service to an oath he learned in the Boy Scouts.
"I think they're doing a wonderful job. A scout oath says, ‘On my honor I will do my best to do my duty for God and country and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.' But I don't have to tell the youngsters that today because that's what they're doing," said Miller.
Colonel Miller was awarded three Distinguished Flying Crosses, 11 Air Medals and four Battle Stars. He remained active until 1947, when he returned to Pensacola and formed a reserve unit to train future Korean and Vietnam war pilots.
Miller is a featured speaker at the National Naval Aviation Museum.
WASHINGTON (AP) — As you decorate your home for Christmas, the Consumer Product Safety commission has several tips to help you avoid accidents.
Nearly seven years ago, an Orange Beach man was tortured and robbed in his own home. As of Friday night, Shaun Cassidy, 65, is behind bars for a number of charges involving minors.
According to authorities, deputies and investigators with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office responded to a home on South Bay Grove Drive in Freeport around 3:30 p.m. after a 4-year-old was shot in the chest with a BB gun.
A double dose of Tigers invade Atlanta for the 2013 SEC Championship.
Auburn and Missouri fans get decked out for the big showdown in Atlanta.
Tre Mason rushed for 304 yards and four touchdowns, leading No. 3 Auburn to a wild 59-42 victory over No. 5 Missouri in the Southeastern Conference championship game Saturday.