BULVERDE, Texas — More than 80 years have passed, yet World War II veteran and Bulverde resident Don Bishop still gets teary-eyed thinking about his return.

“I was going to surprise them,” Bishop said. “My stepmother opened the door and said, 'Is that you, Don?' I said, 'Yes, that’s me.'”

Bishop was just a teenager when the Marine was sent to fight in the South Pacific in 1942. The thought of living to see the next day, let alone 98 years, was a miracle.

Recommended for the Silver Star, Bishop served with the Marines in Company K-3-1, fighting in the South Pacific. This included Guadalcanal, Okinawa and Cape Gloucester. (Spectrum News 1/ Dylan Scott)

“I was one of three in my company that didn’t get shot,” Bishop said. “Seventy-eight (soldiers) were wounded and the rest were killed.”

Bishop served in Company K-3-1, braving some of the war’s deadliest battles, including the Overland Trail at Guadalcanal.

“The Japanese hit us with 550 men. They were going to overrun us, but it didn’t work,” Bishop said.

The family man and woodworker is among the veterans still here to share these heroic tales. According to the National World War II Museum, of the 16 million Americans that served, less than 170,000 remain. Approximately 8,000 are currently living in Texas.

Jeff Hunt, director of the Texas Military Forces Museum, says there’s a lot to learn from this selfless generation, where 400,000 Americans lost their lives during World War II. (Spectrum News 1/ Dylan Scott)

“It’s worth remembering what was done for us, what has been handed down to us,” said Jeff Hunt, director of the Texas Military Forces Museum in Austin.

Hunt says there are lessons to be learned from this selfless generation, where more than 400,000 U.S. citizens gave their lives to protect our freedoms.

“If anything, we want to emulate them,” Hunt said. “It was a time in our country when we came together, where so many Americans became part of the struggle against one of the greatest evils that ever existed.”

Bishop was among the Texas veterans to be honored at the State Capitol earlier this month for his years of military service. (Spectrum News 1/ Dylan Scott)

While Bishop’s memory has faded through the years, his belief in protecting this nation still burns bright.

“Whatever comes up, don’t know what the future is going to be. When it comes up, we deal with it,” Bishop said. “We had top-notch men, they were brothers. It was about survival.”