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98-year-old WWII veteran shares his story about New London explosion

KETK
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POSTED: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 10:00pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - 10:51pm

The 77th anniversary of the New London explosion passed, but the stories live on forever. We sat down with a gentleman who was 21-years-old during the explosion.On that tragic day, he had to pick up debris from the school and help search for victims. Marvin Dees remembers that tragic day like it was yesterday. He was just a young man working on an oil rig five miles from the London school.

"Five miles and we heard the explosion. We knew it was something tremendous," said Dees.

He said one of their co-workers drove to their location.

"He said they need all the help they can get up here it's a terrible situation," said Dees.

Dees and the five other men jumped on their truck and arrived 45 minutes after the explosion.

He couldn't believe what he saw.

"When you get used to see that your drive up and it's all crumbled down and you know that there are bodies out there, you can't believe, it you think it's like a dream."

They started helping moving debris and recovering bodies.

"It's something I cant get out of my mind right now. I can just see it just every detail of what the scene was like that night," said Dees.

He said they were there from 4 p.m. to 10 a.m. the next day.

And had nightmares about it for years.

"I cant remove it from my memory it's just there."

"If you can imagine a 21-year-old had never experienced any disasters anything then you see that, it's hard," said Dees.

But, through this horrific tragedy, he remembers one situation that you could call good.

One student lost his leg in the explosion but he ended up falling in love with his nurse and married her. Dees said it was a very happy marriage.

"If that had not happened, they would have never met, so I mean that was just one thing that was good. I'd say if anything good could come out of something like that, that was one of them," said Dees.

Dees also served in WWII and was one of the veterans at the WWII memorial during the government shutdown.

"They said what sign would you like, I said the one that says Mr. president tear down this barrier."

He was married to the love of his life for 70 years. She died about nine years ago but visits her grave almost every week.

"I just go by and talk to her for a minute or two and tell her I'm still here."

He's going to be 99-years-old in November and says everyday is a blessing.

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