McDONALD, Tenn. — On the Price of Freedom the story of one WWII veteran who lives in Hamilton County.
Cletis Bailey grew up in McDonald, Tennessee.
"Had a small farm. Several acres of cultivation and of course we had the usual cows and pigs and chickens," Mr. Bailey said.
He called his childhood delightful at least most of the time.
"I thought my dad was working me too hard, and I lived pretty close to the railroad," Mr. Bailey said. "I thought I'm gonna catch one of those freight trains, and I believe I ain't ever coming back. I'm talkin to myself because I thought I had to work too hard. I got as far as Cleveland changed my mind and hitchhiked back home."
He had older brothers who served in WWII.
Cletis Bailey eventually went to fight in the war as well.
He was a replacement soldier with the 84th Infantry Division, and joined the fighting just after the Battle of the Bulge.
"For my friends that didn't make it. I hate to think about them because they had went over with the Division and trained and near the end of the war they lost their lives," Mr. Bailey said.
Cletis and his two brothers who served in the war all made it back to McDonald safely.
"Later part of June of '46," Mr. Bailey said.
That was 76 years ago and earlier this month Cletis Bailey got the chance to go back to France thanks to the Best Defense Foundation.
"When we arrived in Normandy we always had a police escort. So, we were treated royally. I don't think Queen Elizabeth would be treated any better," Mr. Bailey said.
Cletis says he couldn't believe the reception they received.
"It was really exciting the greetings that we received each place where we went. Just a tremendous outpouring of gratitude, you know, 'welcome our liberators,' one place nearly 20 thousand people."
After the war he went to business school, and got a degree in accounting.
He then joined the Air Force went back to England during the Korean War.
There he met his future wife and they later started a family.
He also later served in the Vietnam War.