WWII veteran leads Saginaw Memorial Day parade - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

WWII veteran leads Saginaw Memorial Day parade

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SAGINAW (WJRT) - (05/26/14) - Hundreds of people lined Washington Avenue to watch the parade, which ended at the Saginaw County Veterans Memorial Plaza at Hoyt Park.

The young turned out to honor the fallen, and those who served, like 98-year-old Woodrow Doughty of Saginaw. He served six years in the United States Army.

"Let's me know what I did for the country," Doughty said.

Robert Likam of Saginaw knows what he did for the country, even though he admitted to another soldier that he didn't quite know what he was thinking when he enlisted with the United States Air Force in the 1940's and volunteered to be a paratrooper.

"Sitting on the side of a hill crying, and he said, 'What's the matter?' and I said, 'Look up there, I signed up for them dumb things, but I'm scared to death, I have never been in an airplane,'" Likam said.

The Saginaw resident was in the U. S. Air Force and parachuted into Normandy a few days before the D-Day invasion.

He remembered a speech by then-General Dwight D. Eisenhower before the mission. "When we left, Eisenhower gave us all a speech, he said, 'I don't like to tell you this, but 50 percent of you people will not be here tomorrow.' He was wrong, we lost 60," Likam said.

Likam eventually was captured before escaping to Russia, but that time in captivity made him appreciate his freedom.  

The grand marshal of the parade says he's not sure about the generations that have followed.

"They just don't appreciate their freedom, what all these white graves and crosses over there, and the lives that are given even today, for their freedom, and yet, do they appreciate, really, really do they," Likam said.

Likam says he volunteered for the paratrooper unit, in part, because it paid an extra $50 a month.
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