"The roar of enemy fighter-bombers; beads of sweat oozing from my skin; my stomach roiling as I can taste that last K-ration; the ack-ack of anti-aircraft searching for the enemy planes a cry from an excited soldier to hit the dirt."

"The roar of enemy fighter-bombers; beads of sweat oozing from my skin; my stomach roiling as I can taste that last K-ration; the ack-ack of anti-aircraft searching for the enemy planes a cry from an excited soldier to hit the dirt."

Sixty-six years after Bill Ruth survived many a near-miss as a soldier in World War II, his description of the war can now be read on the Internet. There, found under Bill Ruth's diary, those far removed from the reality of war the horror, the atrocities, sometimes the fellowship and even boredom can begin to imagine.

To imagine, remember, and honor is the point of Memorial Day, and is the reason why the 88-year-old Ruth will be riding at the start of the procession as the grand marshal.

A Worthington resident for the past 60 years, Ruth served in the 3rd Armor Division. His unit landed in France in July 1944, about one month after the D-Day Invasion at Normandy.

His division saw heavy action across France, Belgium and into Germany.

For the year-and-a-half he served in Europe, he kept a daily journal. Each night, he would hunker down with an Army issue blanket, a flashlight, a clipboard and a pencil.

The diary was "lost" in the Ruth basement for many years. Now the words have been posted for all to read, and, unlike many of his fellow soldiers, Ruth is still robust and able to share his still-vivid memories of the war.

He was 22 years old when he shipped out for England, then weeks later on to France and to Germany. His memoirs take readers through St. Lo, Siegfried, the Battle of the Bulge, across the Rhine, then on through a concentration camp that had just fallen.

He tells of being shot at from church steeples, scaling a 10-foot wall while carrying a 75-lb. pack on his back, and the horrific scene they encountered at Nordhausen, where hundreds of political prisoners had been left in piles to die of starvation.

Finally, on Dec. 1, 1945, he returned to New York harbor, welcomed by V-Day signs. A week later, he was back home with his parents in Johnstown, Pa.

His homecoming thoughts:

"Our 2,214 Third Armored buddies who fell along the hard, long road from Omaha Beach in Normandy to Dessau, Germany, on the Elbe River would not have this thrill. We must never forget them."

Ruth said that a haunting vision that remains with him is the 10,000 graves at Normandy Cemetery.

"Every one was a man in the prime of life," he said. "I wonder why them and not me."

And every war has been the same: Young men and women who never had the opportunity to be loved, to have children, to watch those children graduate, to have grandchildren.

"That is what Memorial Day is all about, it is to revere all the guys who gave their lives," he said.

Ruth himself has a great zest for life, in part because he believes that God spared him so he could do things to help others.

After the war, he went to college on the G.I. Bill. He was so impressed with the farmers he met during the war that he studied agriculture.

He spent his career in education, teaching distributive education and working with adults through the Ohio Department of Education. He sought and trained the first directors of what is now Columbus State College.

He has been happily retired since 1984, he said.