TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - He may need to lean on a customized walking cane these days, but Buddy Christian still stands tall and proud to have served as a Marine during the Vietnam War.
Today, he is able to tell his story after a number of health problems, including a battle with cancer.
But, his attitude is positive, and his memory is very clear.
In 1966 he began his first tour of Vietnam and served there for 13 months.
He says the worst thing was seeing his fellow military members being killed, and him having to kill another human being.
"I didn't relish that fact," says Christian. "I call myself a Christian man, I don't believe in murder, but I believe in supporting your country. And, I've done things that I am not proud of. I take that back, I am proud of it. I am proud that I could be there to do it, instead of my son or my grandson having to do it."
And, in addition to the duty to defend his country, Christian says the conditions were such that most of us can only imagine.
He says, "In the monsoon season you have about six months of rain. And, it is constant. I mean....you're never dry. And, you go into the bush and you go into a canopy that is four and five layers high, and it is like walking from a lighted room to a dark room."
Once that tour was over, it wasn't long before Christian was back in Vietnam, this time for 18 months.
And, he would have gone a third time, but his wife, encouraged him not to.
Even years later he volunteered to help in Iraq, but he was not able to.
What encouraged him to want to keep going back to serve his country?
"We were gung-ho, we were proud to be a Marine", says Christian. "And, that don't come lightly. You ask a Marine if he is proud to be one. Because once your a Marine, you're never an ex-Marine, there's no such thing."
Christian retired from the Marines.
Today, a family member lives with him at his home in Tupelo.
It's a home surrounded with lots of memories.
Including memories of his wife, who passed away in recent years.
The woman whom he says was a big hero in his life.