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"I went into the Army believing that we had to defeat the Nazis": WWII vets weigh in

WWII vets react
WWII vets react 02:14

NEW YORK -- William Johnson, Henry Beckam Jr. and Edward Field fought in World War II on the side of history that believed in freedom for all.

"I am a Tuskeege Airman," Johnson said.

"I went into the Army believing that we had to defeat the Nazis," Field said.

"I can still tell you my Army serial number," Beckam said.

Field flew on planes that dropped bombs. "I flew 27 missions and on all of them we were shot at," he told CBS News' Jericka Duncan.

Edward Field CBS News

"Even after fighting that war, you thought things would change for the better?" Duncan asked.

"It did," he replied.

"When you look at what's happening today?" she asked.

"It's terrible," he said.

The 93-year-old Field calls the images out of Charlottesville, Virginia repulsive.

"When the president of the United States makes a comment saying, 'what about the "alt-left" that came charging,'" Duncan said.

"Well it's idiotic," he said.

Henry Beckam Jr. CBS News

"It's unbelievable that we have the Nazi party here in the United States," Beckam said. 

Beckam was drafted in 1942 and served as a mechanic for the Army air force. He said there's no place in the U.S. for the Nazi flag. 

"God wrote the Bible ... it doesn't say anything in there about the color of the skin makes one better than the other," Beckam said

William Johnson CBS News

And 90-year-old William Johnson was with the Tuskegee Airmen, a segregated group of black military personnel who were not allowed to serve alongside whites.

"And it is not a better world when the President of the United States, OK, gives into racism and bigotry and don't understand how far we've come towards freedom and equality for everybody," he said.

More than 70 years later, the fight to defeat a hateful ideology is still alive. On the front lines once again are people willing to stand up and face what's in front of them.

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