People all over Oklahoma are mourning a decorated and celebrated World War II veteran who died at 98 years old.
Tulsa native William “Bill” Parker was the last known survivor from the first wave during D-Day back in 1944. Law enforcement and veterans' groups all over the state were at the Skiatook Church of Christ to honor Bill Parker, a WWII veteran who they say is a hero.
Bill Parker spent his life serving others, whether it was during his time fighting for his country during World War II or serving his family after coming home to Oklahoma.
“He loved everybody; he did. He was so quiet, unassuming, easy-going. That was the beauty of Bill Parker," said Mitch Reed with Oklahoma Purple Hearts.
Mitch Reed signed Bill up for the local Purple Hearts chapter 10 years ago and said Bill became a dear friend.
“For him to survive Omaha is absolutely incredible, and that’s not where he got his first Purple Heart," Reed said.
Bill was drafted for the Army and, after months of training, set course to Normandy. He was a wire cutter, which put him as the first boots on the ground during D-Day.
"His feet walked 600 miles across Europe, his body endured twice behind wounded, his hearing damaged to be near deaf by Naval shelling, his eyes witnessed the carnage and waste of life war brings, and he paid the price of living with that heavy burden," said Ryan Fairfield.
But Bill helped free France, finished out the war, and when he got home, he married the love of his life, Colleen. Bill had children and grandchildren, and up until his death on Monday, September 11th, Bill was riding and roping on horseback.
Last year, Bill was able to go to Normandy again for the first time since the War.
“He said the previous night was the first time his war had ended that he slept without nightmares of Omaha beach," Fairfield said.
Bill was awarded Purple Hearts, the French Legion of Honor Medal, the Bronze Star, and many other medals. Loved ones say he is reunited with his wife and is riding horses up in Heaven-- forever a Cowboy.
“It is our loss but heaven’s gain. May God bless him and his family."