And what I am going to do to commemorate it.
I have only two D-Day time period friends left alive.
This evening, I'm going to call them both,just to see how they are.
And,I'm not going to mention WW Two unless they bring it up.
One was aboard ship on the 5th,the original date,which got postponed.
His unit went across on the 9th.He made it until July 7th,when a 'Hitler Saw' nicked him with four rounds.It cut the guy next to him in half.
The other one,a T guy, flew a glider in one of the airborne assaults.
Soon, they'll be gone,too.
Please thank them from me and my family for their sacrifice.
Paul,If the subject of the war comes up,I certainly will.
With one of them especially, I have to be very careful about the 'thanking' part.
He was given his high school diploma early and less than 90 days later he is killing German boys his age,who didn't want to be there either.
His usual response to being thanked is,"For what?Going from a happy go lucky kid to a ruthless killer?For me being alive all these years and them being dead just because I was lucky?
All these years later, he still has problems. And believe me,he realized real quick it was us or them.
Yes, that generation is leaving us. My father is 93 and a Korean war vet, so the WWII vets are at least that age.
My Dad went in on D-day plus 4 because he had an ear infection. Most of the guys he trained with went in the first day and didn't survive. He went in at St. Lowe and never really talked about it until most of his memory of it was gone. My Mom is still with us, but Dad's been gone over 4 years now. For a short time, Mom was a "Rosie" working sharpening drill bits in a factory, then she came back to Grandpa's place and worked in his bakery.
David, that ear infection likely made your life possible.
I probably owe mine to a bad football injury my Dad got in college.
While at Parris Island, OCS,he re-injured it in a demolition training accident.The
blast killed the guy carrying the charge.At that instant, they were separated by a tree.He only spoke of this shortly before he died,because family of the Marine that got killed found records and tracked my Dad down to get the story firsthand what happened. At the time,the Marine Corps gave the family the runaround about how he got killed. Imagine that.And the surviving members of the family wanted to know what actually happened before they died.
My dad was shot down over France and was in a POW camp before D day even happened. Very badly wounded and not expected to survive camp. I also had a dear friend who was in an advance recon force and out of the 350 men only 6 of them came home. Most who saw the heat of battle never talked about it.
My Uncle Jack was KIA off Utah beach when his mine sweeper struck a mine. It was a great loss my grandparents never recovered from. He was on the USS Tide.
Jim, very true! From there Dad took an aptitude test and ended up in a resupply depot south of France. It was bombed once, but the bomb was a dud, found in the morning in the middle of the depot! Dad did get to go back a few years ago while his granddaughter was living in Paris. They weren't there but a few hours when he was pick-pocketed! What a welcome. . .
All Dad ever said about St. Lowe was that the "fireworks" that night were something he's never seen since, and that they bombed the place, but the Germans had already left, since we dropped flyers just before. Communications back then was far different from today, or even later in the war. Oh, and he mentioned hunkering down in the Hedgerows that night. Also he remembered not having to wade through the water to get on the beach, but he couldn't remember why.
the photos we have found in his trunk he shipped back show some of the destruction and some things that look quite strange--wish we'd opened it when he was around and remembering. It's still sealed back up in the storage room.
Being an "Old Man" at 26 in 1941, my Father was an Instructor Pilot at Courtland Al ( Later was in the 1st class of Helicopter Instructors the Army passed). He would not talk much about what he did because he was "just training pilots". He did say that one night they lost 13 ships out on a night flight. 13 guys killed before they ever saw a German or Jap. My hat is off to all Vets. Thanks, Guys. Dan
Whenever my friend Bob and I were hanging out together, his dad, Gayle Eyler, was always around. These were car enthusiasts through and through. Gayle was a WW2 vet. In fact, Gayle was a carpenter who was assigned to Omar Bradley. General Bradley set up a secret war headquarters in an empty apartment building in London.
Two carpenters were responsible for building the war headquarters. They set up a shop in the basement where they built war rooms, offices, barracks and mess. One day, General Bradley came into the shop to visit the two carpenters. (I must apologize that I do not recall the name of the second carpenter.) He visited the two and asked them where they were from. The first carpenter said that he was from Provo Utah and Gayle said that he was from Omaha Nebraska.
Most of the conversation was lost to history but I know that these two carpenters, one of which was my friend Gayle, were the inspiration for the names of Utah Beach and Omaha beach. Gayle has been gone for years but my memories of our friendship and his service are eternal.
Those of us that are the children of veterans should consider ourselves lucky to have been conceived.
Adding just military training to the ordinary risk of life....
I knew a man that was a Bataan Death March survivivor.
He had a brother that was a later war POW in Germany.
A third brother was killed in a plane crash in training.
As Dan points out above,flight training was damn dangerous.
The Mother of these men was born about 1900 and lived until about 1990,so I knew her,too.
Her eldest son,the guest of the Maps,was declared dead by the War Department in '43.On VE Day,which he knew nothing about,he was working deep underground in a iron mine,and had not seen the sun in months if not years.
And due to the mass confusion in Germany the last couple months of the war,no word of the other son other than MIA was heard until over a month after VE Day.
I always wanted to ask their Mom,this wonderful bright,cheerful old gal just how the hell she bore up.
Her husband, a Veteran of the First World Unpleasantness,did not.He offed himself the day they got the news of the third son being MIA.
Spell check did not like the word (Jap)anese.
The then young man that was their guest weighed less than 75lbs. when he got his first physical on the hospital ship after he finally got picked up by our side.And he was at least 5'8".
For reasons I do not understand, combat veterans will discuss things with me they would with no one else.
One guy I knew well,when he knew he was terminal, confessed while out on patrol in North Africa,they routinely shot Arabs, whole families, just to watch them fall.They took turns,who got to pick off the next bunch coming over the sand dune,and they kept score.
Soul cleansing,he called it.
Hard to believe that mild mannered guy was capable of killing even in self defense.