The crowd in Sunbury on the Fourth of July watched as nearly two dozen World War II veterans passed by in the parade.
But there was one who had a unique story to tell.
“To think that 69 years later, I’m here enjoying the crowd. It's just a wonderful, wonderful pleasure,” said James Krebs, who enlisted in the Army in 1943, along with his twin brother John. “I wanted to serve mainly because we needed it.”
Both he and his brother joined, because they both shared in the feeling that the Germans needed to be stopped.
“The Germans were trying to take over the world, and we had to stop them someway,” said Krebs.
He wanted to serve in the same unit as his twin brother, but the Army wouldn’t allow it, because he had two older brothers already fighting in the war.
But when James' unit lost its bazooka team, his commander needed volunteers.
It came with an important perk. James could chose the person to load his weapon
“Well, I picked my twin brother and we got to serve together,” he said with a smile.
The twins were together again.
But in 1945, they came under heavy machine gun fire.
James says they tried to make a run for it in a wide-open field
“And I saw my brother go down, and I dropped down beside him, as I shielded him, a bullet went through my hip and into his body,” said Krebs.
James carried his brother to the nearest first aid station.
“He died in my arms before I got him there. I was devastated,” said Krebs.
At home in his Sunbury, James still has his army uniform, complete with two Purple Heart medals.
On the wall, a WWII memorial is dedicated to his brother.
The war may have taken his brother, but James says if he were alive, he would echo what many of his generation would say about choosing to fight.
“It was something that had to be done because so many of our guys were getting killed,” he said.
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