CARLSBAD, Calif. (KGTV) - A photographer in Carlsbad is helping to preserve the memory of the Greatest Generation, one portrait at a time.
John Riedy works with The Greatest Generations Foundation. The group takes Veterans back to the battlefields on which they fought.
During the trips, Riedy takes a portrait of each vet on their battlefield.
"It helps them realize that we’re not going to forget these guys," Riedy says. "When they’re gone, their legacies are going to live on."
Over the last 12 years, Riedy has gone on nearly 50 trips with the Foundation and taken close to 300 portraits.
For the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, he chose 75 of his favorite to hang in two galleries near Normandy and Omaha Beach.
"I think they were blown away to see their portraits up there," Riedy says of the reaction the Vets had when they got a first look at the galleries.
Riedy says it's his personal way to honor the sacrifices they made.
"When you step onto Omaha beach, or you go to that cemetery at Omaha, and you see what they were up against when you see those cliffs, it's awe-inspiring," he says. "It’s like a switch flipped inside me. From them on I knew this was going to be my calling."
Riedy and the Foundation have started to expand the program beyond World War II Veterans. They now take vets to Vietnam and are hoping to take Korean War veterans in the future.
Riedy says he hopes to open another gallery of portraits either in California or in Denver, where the foundation is located.
To see a full gallery of the photos, to to support the Greatest Generations Foundation, click here.