Just finished a great book related to the subject titled "Flyboys" by James Brady
God Bless our troops, whereever they may lay down their lives!
Albert there is no tribute that is high enough, no honor too great for the people that poured out their youth and blood on the beaches of France 60 years ago today. It brings tears to my eyes to see and hear what selfless HERO'S did for the sake of others (not to their own honor and glory) so that others could live free of the evil or Nazism.
I thank the fathers, grandfathers, uncles, or even brothers of those here that served on those awful days. I hate to say it, but I'm not sure we are of the same caliber as those men. I think it was Peter Jennings (a complete buffoon) who called them "The Greatest Generation." This does not begin to expose their greatness.
I say this as one whose mother was suffering under Nazi rule in Germany. Thank you America, Canada, UK, and Australia, for the sacrifice of blood and surrender of childhood that to this day teaches us what it means to be a man of honor.
I am watching the "winds of War" in honor thereof. If any of you out there have not had the opportunity to watch this series or better yet read the book (by Herman Wouk)you are missing one of the finest historical(emphasis on historical) fiction novels ever published. If this subject matter means something to you I think you might gain a whole new perspective on the events that led up to and finally concluded WWII.
I couldn't agree more.
These were truly the men who saved the world. No hyperbole there.
Everything we have come to love- and take for granted- would be nonexistent were it not for the sacrifice on D-Day 60 years ago. The 2,500 men we lost that day were of course only part of America's great sacrifice. US losses for WWII totaled about 400,000.
The men who survived the conflict returned home to perform yet another great feat. They set in motion the greatest economic prosperity our country has ever known, which all of us in some way benefitted from.
I think often that the greatest testament to the security and prosperity these men provided us is the fact that the vast majority of Americans can live day to day oblivious to how fragile our freedoms are.
Let's try to remember what they were fighting for. This fragile, imperfect idea we call the United States of America.
God Bless those who died and the families they left behind. We owe them more than we can ever repay.
History is great, but this is NOW:
Remembering D Day on its 60th anniversary becomes especially poignant with the passing of one of our greatest presidents.
Before my time of course,but I had an uncle in the U.S. Navy die during the practice run for the beaches when German torpedo boats suddenly showed up and caused mass U.S. casualites.
Our family still has a picture of him in uniform.
18 and full of life.
I joined the U.S. Navy in the mid 70's.I had it very easy.
Nice thread Albert.
My father was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborn Infantry Div.He never spoke much about it.
I do know that his unit had been misdropped behind the lines many miles sw of the intended drop zone the night before.
The few tidbits that still stick in my memory - he had landed on a steep rooftop and had to cut himself loose from his chute - german units casually "plinking" paratroopers stuck in the trees - he eventually hooked up with a small unit mostly composed of soldiers from the 101st.As near as I can tell,he must have served with the 101st Airborn from that point onward thru the rest of the war.
I sure miss him.
Albert, thanks for the reminder and wake-up call. My wife and I watched our copy of Saving Private Ryan last night. The opening of that film can only scratch the surface of what went on that day in Normandy. We couldn't believe the movie wasn't on at least ONE of our many Time Warner Cable channels yesterday.
As to NRCHY's earlier post, the author of The Greatest Generation is Tom Brokaw, the anchor for NBC Evening News. He has been to Normandy for the D-Day recognition / celebration for each of the last 20 years. His book and followup books are available at Amazon and other sources, Amazon link to The Greatest Generation provided here.
Sorry I was away but I was tinking about this all day. My father-in-law was on Iwo and the Korean war. I annually go to the Marine Corps. ball in NYC. It really brings tears to my eyes seeing these men from the big wars. They always have a few new Marines from current wars there to talk to. My father was a prisoner of war also.
My brother-in-law flew HMX-1 for Regan and Bush #1 for 12 years. He told me a lot of stories and still works for the gov't.
I won't ever forget the fightening men of the USA!
I spent time with my father and a friend of his over the weekend. His friend was part of the invasion, his boat was sunk off the coast of Normandy, and my dad spent 18 months in a prison camp after getting shot down over Germany. Both men were true heroes and I cannot begin to describe the pride I feel for both of them. Neither of them talked much about their experience until recently. It seems to be a healing process for them now. I'm glad the war memorial to the WWII soldiers is finally up. It was too long in coming.
A very dear uncle of mine passed away a few months back. He was part of D-Day as a member of Patton's tank division; endured the Battle of the Bulge; somehow survived the tank destroyer he was in being blown up a couple of times; saw the entire European theater from Normandy thru France and Italy and on to Germany.
As I am sure is happening today and we do not hear about it in Iraq - helped many struggling German families with provisions etc along the way.
He was a true American Hero - as were countless others. God bless them all - and God bless those fighting for democracy today.
I fully agree with you Mr. Porter, we owe our liberty to the untold sacrifice of these men. At least we have found a subject on which we agree totally. I was reading a few paragraphs in a French history magazine the other day and came across the story of Robert Capa risking his life to take photos of the landing at Omaha beach, returning to England in a landing craft going back and winding up with only six usable picture because a technician had fried the negatives in a dryer. I am certain that as a photographer you must cringe at the thought. The fact that he risked his life to document the event and wound up with so little was probably a very tough pill to swallow. I guess that merely being alive after that day on the beach was solace though.
My Father-in-Law, Art Komorowski served under Patton during WWII. He is was wounded in action and is a decorated veteran I also want to honor Roger Hough, the only brother of one of my best friends, who lost his life on Saipan. They are both true American Heroes who I owe a debt that can never be repaid. My thanks to both of them for thier sacrifices.
During Tom Brokaw's interview with George W. last night Brokaw stated that, American WW2 vets are dying at the rate of 1000 a day. Soon all memories of this war will be 2nd hand. It was weird seeing Bush with Chirac commemorating our WW2 efforts. Too young for Viet Nam. Too old for Persian Gulf. I do appreciate greatly the sacrifice these men made and cherish their legacy. Although I have a problem with our current leadership and ongoing war I never lose sight of the great privelege it is to live in a free society.
I care. The second world war profoundly effected all those who survived it. Twenty million persons died in a seven year period. Operation Overlord was the beginning of the end and the good guys won.
When I was growing up I heard a lot of stories from vets who had been in the war but other than my mother & father in law, who are both deceased, can't remember the last time I talked with a WW2 vet-at least one that talked about the war.
Just sitting here for the past 15 minutes or so & reflecting on wars, both past & present, one cannot help but be overwhelmed by the sacrifices made.
I'm not sure why you would think no one cares, the media is absolutely saturated with D-Day tributes and remembrances.
What always impresses me when I hear or see WW2 vets is how they are so self deprecating. They don't consider themselves heroes, they were simply doing what had to be done.
Ever so slightly off topic, the Russians have always had a problems with how Americans are so fixated upon the importance of the Normandy invasion. Stalin had been demanding a second front for years and originally Roosevelt was pushing for a 1942 landing, but Churchill refused his support. Stalin saw this as a anti-communist plot by the imperialist British a view which was given further credence when British and U.S. forces spent much of 1942 in North Africa protecting the Suez Canal and access to India. It was only after the Soviet victories at Stalingrad and Kursk when it became apparent that Germany would be defeated by the Russians that the Normandy invasion became the main British/U.S. focus. As such the opening of the second front wasn't so much to liberate Europe from the Germans as it was to prevent Europe's domination by the Soviets. The Russians have always seen the Normandy invasion as little more than a diversion from their great land war with Germany and they are quick to point out that 93% of German military casualties occurred on the Russian front.
Life Margazine article (1946): We may have won the war but we are losing the peace in Germany. The German people, who at first regarded us with acceptance, are now downright hostile and hate filled. Some of our soldiers have behaved atrociously toward German citizens and toward some German prisoners of war. We need to know what our exit strategy is now because not only Germans have begun to hate us but many other Europeans are heading down this same road. We need to start doing what is necessary to get out of Europe now and let the international community take over. (Paraphrased)
Also, same crap from some articles in The New York Times in 1945 and 46. Thank God no one in the military listened to them - our presence in Europe stopped the Soviets from turning the entire continent into a cesspool. And the Nazi party has remained irrelevant since. (Unfortunately, their attitude toward Jews has remained well rooted throughout much of Europe, France included as one of the worst offenders.)
Oh yeah, the point? Substitute Iraq for Germany and Iraqi for Germans.
There's absolutely no doubt that the Soviet Union fought with unbelievable tenacity and to great effect.
Unfortunately, Stalin chose to use victory to impose the nightmare that eastern Europe lived through until the fall of communism. The US on the other hand instituted the Marshall plan and facilitated the reconstruction of Europe.
What a contrast!
And since the Soviets murdered tens of millions of people throughout their empire, our people had the right idea. Remember, it was Roosevelt who decided this would become a war to the bitter end resulting in the deaths of millions and a conquered Germany. The British wanted to drive the Nazis out of France, N. Africa, Italy but were willing to concede some lands to them (I think Poland was one). But Rossevelt said no, we will pursue the Germans to Berlin and dismantle their government. The Brits warned the Nazis would fight to the end and millions would die, Roosevelt prevailed.
Interesting aside, it seems Roosevelt and "Uncle" Joe Stalin were friends and old Franklin didn't see much wrong with the red butcher's handling of Russia's "enemies", both external and internal.
While maybe true, I don't think an asterisk should be put on the historical significance of the D-Day landing. In terms of sacrifice and human suffering the USSR suffered the brunt of the little corporal's insanity and that of his henchmen, aided and abetted by the great bulk of all the Germans who, with instant amnesia, declared the minute the war was over that hell no they were never Nazis. That never gets much airplay in the USA that tends to be a little stingy in spreading the glory of war to other nations, especially communsictic ones. Strange to think that Uncle Joe distrusted Churchill so much he simply did not believe Barbarossa was coming despite British intelligence reports provided him to the contrary.
Thank god the Germans took on the Russians too. The Russian front was there downfall. Europe would be speaking German, today, if not for that huge mistake....
Thank you for initiating this thread, Albert.
It will not and cannot ever be forgotten.
My grandfather was in the war, he was an advanced intel scout (aka spy); he was captured behind enemy lines and held in a camp for eighteen months. He eventually came back home to Canada but was never the same, the horrors he witnessed/endured changed him and certainly not for the better.
While my grandfather was overseas, my dad had to quit school (in grade nine) to support his mom and himself. My dad ended up eventually making a living in IT but was never compensated the way the better educated folks were. Do I remember the sacrifices? You bet I do, it touched my entire family.
Good Bless the Men and Woman who served,We said a Prayer at church yesterday for them and their famalies.
Tomryan's attempt to draw an analogy between Iraq and Germany is fallacious. The question is whether current events in Iraq will or will not unfold as the Bush administration predicts. The fact that various negative predictions from Life and the New York Times in 1946 about Germany have been refuted by historical hindsight has no bearing on whether current predictions about Iraq will or will not be proven correct. Only time will tell--not misleading analogies that ignore the vast differences between the circumstances of 1946 and 2004.
Here, here Albert! Thank you for this somber yet vital reminder. May
those who gave their lives for our freedom, both on that fateful day in
France, as well those who died before them, and those who fight and die
so courageously after them, and to this day, never be forgotten. Though
I do not believe in the conflict we are in now, nor the administration who
instigated it, the sacrafice being made by those brave men and women
who continue to die at such an alarming rate in the name of our country
is no less worthy of our respect and gratitude. They're all heroes in my
book! May this world reflect more often on the insanity of war and
violence, that it may someday embrace peace at all costs. May our brave
servicemen and women soon return to their homes and families and the
violence and the death toll in the middle east subside.
Albert, thank you. My father served in the Pacific during WWII. I will always remember that. On a side note I also remember Ronald Reagan in 1984 giving his Memorial over in Normandy on June 6th, the 40th anniversy of D-Day. In it he stated, we will not forget. A great man died on the 60th anniverary of D-Day. We will not forget.
Thank you for starting this thread. Maybe I'm ignorant, but perhaps one day we will come to value the lives of others as equal to our own. Until then, I'm afraid we'll be making heroes of the dead. Until then, we will honor those who died for our righteousness instead of honoring life itself. Sorry, but as I said, maybe I'm just ignorant about all this. All this killing and its subsequent justification simply makes no sense to me.
Having seen the doc."Blood On The Snow" one sees it as the bloodiest and longest battle ever. As the doc. tells it Stalin gave orders to shoot those Russians soldiers that were retreating--along with a similar fate for their families.---Another doc. says part of why we dropped the H-bombs on Japan was to prove we had the bomb,and to intimidate the Russians.
Man's inhumanity to his fellow man is unprecedented.
Leaders make war. Their men and boys pay the price.
-----But a least we know why we had to send our young there. -----We are still the hated nation for much of our foreign policy. I think we (the nation) got bamboozled re. Iran.---How would we have felt about outside interference for our Revolutionary war??---- Which some say was more about commerce than slavery;at least to begin with.--(Didn't want the South exporting their cotton,on their own,without the Fed.getting their tax.)
To the families whom gave their sons, brothers, husbands,we owe a profound thanks which does not even scratch the surface.
The pre-Islmaic government of Iran was brutal toward disenters and anti-government activists. The post (and current) Islamic government is the same, most likely even more so, but has the added benefit of spreading their vision of revolution around the world. Let's not forget the hundreds and probably thousands of women who were slashed and hatcheted to death in the streets of Tehran in the early days of the revolution. This was for the unforgivable crime of protesting in the streets. Why were they protecting? The complete loss of freedoms suffered by all women under the new regime. Islamic men took to the streets and made sure that sort of behavior did not occur again. As we speak there are a large number of terrorist training camps operating in complete freedom in Iran.
Remember the "open" elections Iran promised to hold a year or so ago? Dozens of candidates filed for the ballot, the mullahs reviewed lists, removed anyone they didn't like (not Muslim enough), and the election was between 2-3 hard line Islamists. Just like our Revolution, eh? Oh, by the way, slavery is still being practiced openly throughout much of the Middle East. For decades after we (and other evil Western countries especially Great Britain) had fought many bloody battles to end slavery, the Middle East was still openly and legally practicing this barbaric horror. Went on well into the 1920s.
A co-worker of mine married an Iranian women in 1985. She had escaped the terror that is Iran, however, her brother remained behind and was actually a member of the "Revolutionary Islamic Party". As such, he was duty bound to avenge his sister's "dishonor" and sent sister letter demanding her return. When she refused, he attempted to come to America to do the right thing, which was to kill sister and her new husband, my friend. The feds came to out office, arranged for my friend to get a concealed weapons carry permit and finally stopped this terrorist at the Canadian border. He was sent back to Iran where he vowed to come back as soon as possible to finish the job. My friend and wife had to move out of state for protection where she soon divorced him to save his life.
Avguygeorge, the time for self hatred is long past. There are enough terrorists in the world who hate us for simply being alive. The main mosque in England (as reported in the Detroit Free Press) has a sign up that says, "Islam and the word of Allah will one day rule the world".
With the little I know;I'm of the opinion we shouldn't be envading a country to choose its politics for it. You can't invade a country and un- brain wash its people.Altho history says most of the world powers try,or have tried.
When the slaughter was going on in Rowanda,were we there??? NO. I think the reason was "they had no valuable ressources",is the reason.
Man is just the worst of the animals.---Go back as far as you like; it's always been the strong dominating the weak.
I'm sure just because I've watched a few documentaries, doesn't mean I don't have much to learn.
Most of our news is spoon-fed from the big business owned media.---We can't get the correct story on what goes on here.(Waco/Ruby Ridge);let alone World News.
Re; Mr.Regan---to me his highlights---"We didn't trade arms for hostages" (Nixon esque) and we didn't let the hostages stay in captivity an extra period of time---so as to time their release to the upcoming elections.??
"Man is the worst of the animals"? As a 33 year vegatarian (and one who believes that if any human has a soul, then animals do, too) I find that more than a bit odd and dripping with self loathing. We live surrounded by 15 acres of treed ravine with a stream. We have deer, possums, raccoons, groundhogs, foxes, rabbits, three species of squirrel, owls, hawks, crows, woodpeckers, and even a coyote, although we've never seen him. Neighbor got 'em on video in their backyard 1/2 block from us. We throw all our old food out the back door and watch everyone jockey for position.
We've seen mother groundhogs knock their own cubs down trying to get to a piece of bread. Have seen crows tormenting one of their own into terrified submission. Have seen hawks and owls rip baby rabbits apart and leave only the tails and feet. Have seen various birds attack squirrels (who are vegetarian!?!)and small red squirrels viciously attack the bigger gray and black ones. All in the pursuit of resources.
A baby raccoon got separated from his family and stuck in the middle of busy road not far from us about a month ago. He was crying pitifully and you know who came to his rescue? Not a rabbit...not a deer...not a hawk. It was two men and one woman from two different cars. They stopped traffic which was about 25-30 cars in both directions of the two lane road. Finally they had the baby safely to the side and the stopped drivers could go. My wife and I heard two passersby yell, "God bless you!"
My aunt, age 80, took in an abondoned kitten (abandoned by the mother cat who had three and then 2 weeks later left one behind). She nursed the kitten and found it a good home. About that time the mother came back with two 2 month old kits. My aunt found homes for both and the mother now lives indoors - safe, sound, and well fed, with Auntie Chris.
Once human needs are easily taken care of (like us rich Americans) we do pretty good. Poor people in this country suffer most from over eating and almost all have TVs, VCRs, and cars.
Oh, and Avguy, we "un-brainwashed" the Nazis and imperialist Japanese, didn't we? It would be hard today to enjoy fine Japanese cuisine and audio arts if they were still in China, the Philipines, etc, butchering millions.
Tomryan, you seem to be a decent, kind and upstanding guy. Your assessment of mankind is chillingly correct. The story about your friend is a perfect slice of reality as to how different other cultures view what is right and wrong.
That being said, I'm glad NOT to have been either Bill Clinton or George W. Bush, making decisions every day that will be judged inappropriate by at least half the people, no matter what they do.
Amen, Albertporter. I used to think (back in my hippie days) that we were bad creatures, now know we are just creatures. Actually, I think I would die of a heart attack if waking up to find myself president. What an unimaginable responsibility.
By the way, love your photos!
Thank you for starting this thread. My heart has been warmed thinking that so many members are grateful for the ultimate sacrifice so many gave. While the US was late entering the war, once we did we were determined to finish it as vitorious with our allies. American society sacrificed not only for the boys over there but also for the European, African and Pacific nations affected by war on their own soil. D-Day was an allied offensive and the American people were, and still are, grateful for the level of cooperation amongst nations to acheive a noble goal.
Little is spoken of the dissent within each participating allied country during this time in history. It was then, much as things are now, a huge controversy. In tough times leaders must make tough decisions and thankfully the free world had very good leadership.
While the thread head is about D-Day not much has been mentioned about our 40th president, Ronald Wilson Reagan, who died on the 60th anniversary of this assult on the German forces. I've noticed one cynical criticism about this great president and a couple of other equally cynical comments about this country. So, not much has changed except our list of friends, enemies and adversaries.
I remember well how cruel the mocking of the actor president was and how he was going to lead the world into nuclear annihilation while in office. Labeled a senile old man long before he developed Alzheimers and vicious attacks against his wife were the nightly norm of network televsion news. This week, even his most vocal critics at the time praised his accomplishments and honored him by telling of his decency and love for his fellow man. He believed that every life had a worthy purpose.
As I watched the various ceremonies commemorating his life I was struck by the mix of those that endured what must have been horrible traffic, long walks and endless lines just to be there. They came to honor the man; men, women, blacks, whites, young and old, Republicans and Democrats. They came from every corner of our country and many came from other nations. Nations sent their finest to display the respect due one of hisory's greatest leaders with the exception of France. I understand how differences can cause tension between friends and even family. However, when recent events preclude the proper display of respect as generally recognized, things have changed. France may no longer be our friend and I don't consider her an enemy but it's obvious she is our adversary.
Ronald Reagan left office with the highest approval rating in US history at just shy of 65%. He bowed out of the public spotlight with a touching message of love for his fellow man, hope for the world and acceptance of his fate with the courage only a believer can have.
I will never forget D-Day as is my custom. From here forth it's rememberance will be intertwined with the death of a great man and the intentional insult by a former friend.
My Dad was D+10, an uncle D+2. My father NEVER spoke of his involvement (through the Normandy campaign, the Ardennes (phew!), the Rhineland, and finally a bit of peace-keeping in Czechosolvakis before his return 1/45.
He was a sharpshhooter, manning a three-person machine gun group until a temporary evacuation for trenchfoot near the Bulge. His keen eyesight (and sculpting skills) were put to use later on as SWANK's chief designer of all their cufflinks, tiebars, etc., for 40 years. He retired in '88, and unfortunately died a year later. Since he NEVER wore jewelry, I'm only now collecting a few examples of his craft. He once carved a 3/4" solid gold replica of my Hammond B organ for my Mom's charm bracelet...with ALL 122 keys...and 25 pedals! I never learned much else about his involvement in the European Theatre, and all records perished in that fire in DC years ago....
My uncle passed in 2002, and was a trucker in Normandy. An extremely humble big guy, he claimed to be one of the few drivers who didn't skim provisions enroute from supply depots. He said quite a few quartermasters became incredibly rich....
I have a pretty deep WWII library...especially of D-Day and the Normandy campaign, including many maps, if anyone else wishes to swap titles or stories. There are many great tomes to recommend....
Someday I'll find someone who has more details of Company D, 12th Infantry, I hope.
I've walked the beaches, startled by the amazing architecture of the US museaum at Utah, and cried at the cemetery at Colleville.
Silent and great generation, indeed. Ern
Very moving post. Thank you. However, you might want to
check your facts. Reagan did not leave office with the highest approval in US history. In spite of the fact that many from all walks have recently sung his praises, his approval ratings during and leaving office were actually topped by a number of other presidents, including Bill Clinton. No intention of playing politics here, but as much as we might long for Reagan to be the most popular president in history, the statistics demonstrate that he was not.
Boa2 perhaps the reason for his continued popularity is that in retrospect people are able to see how much he truly accomplished, as opposed to what others claim to have accomplished. I did hear recently that his approval rating was about 68% when he left office.
My father was a whopping 5'7" and 110 lbs, when he went to the draft office in February of 1942. The Dr. examining him said, "Well sir, if you weighed just 5 lbs less, we couldn't take you." My father said, "Can you give me a week?" They both laughed.
Dad went on to ship into North Africa, fighting in the 91st Infantry Division. This brave group, fought the SS Nazi Troups all the way from North Africa, through Sicily, Italy, all the way up to Austria. During that 18 months of combat they, "never yielded as much as one inch of ground,"as stated in my Fathers Company Book that the government issued.
Of the 248 men in Dad's outfit, (don't know the actual terms to describe the grouping) anyway of that 248 men, only 12 came back. Not all died, but that was the sum total of men who came back due to disabling injury or death.
Dad was awarded the Purple Heart, and the Bronze Star, 'for valorus and courageous performance, in the line of duty; for crawling out further into harms way, dragging and carrying 10 to 15, wounded, screaming, moaning and crying, men, back to first aid and safety...all while under mortar and machine gun fire.
Sometimes I wonder what I would have done. I don't think I am blessed with his brave heart, or sense of duty.
When Dad passed away in January 11th, 1977, I had the minister read this commendation at the service. Beyond the grief of that moment, everyone sobbed openly at this reading of his selfless act of courage. This little snip of a man, who by that time had most likely shrunk to less than 100 pounds, too little to go into the armed forces, saved men who very well could be alive today.
God Bless my Father, and all the HEROES who gave it their all during impossible circumstances. How lucky we are to inherit their legacy.
Tom Brokaw called them "The Greatest Generation"; this is why...and he is right.
I would suggest (although I certainly could be wrong) that in terms of waxing on his popularity, Reagan's passing could not have come at a better time. In the midst of today's rather charged geopolitical climate, many Americans eagerly celebrate the man who by all accounts seeded the patriotic (cum nationalistic) fervor we are experiencing today. He left office with an approval rating of 63%, which although quite admirable, trails that of at least four other presidents from the 20th century alone.
Thank you for this thread, which I have come across somewhat belatedly.
My great-uncle (mother's side) was in the British Navy and captained a landing vessel on D-Day, among other things during WWII. He wrote a book about his experiences a few years ago and, although it does not touch upon the emotional side of things as much, one does get a sense of the immense physical and mental stresses that servicepeople endured, no matter their rank or role. He also tells of how, in some cases, supplies and equipment were cobbled together during the first couple of years of WWII in the almost impossible defence against the (initially) technologically superior Nazi war machine.
My mom lived on the South coast of England, along with most of her family, near a Royal Navy base. She was born in '39 and remembers (!) spending many a night under the family's steel-reinforced dining room table during the Blitz in '41-42 (not sure, but I think that's right). Her grandfather, a mason in the local quarry, ran into a neighbour's burning house one night and saved their children. Just wanted to add a note concerning the heroes who did not serve in the forces.
Reagan is at the top of every valedictory poll I have seen, or at least tied. I even Lexis-Nexis'd this at work to make sure. But, I have had this discussion before and its pointless.
I digress, I am so proud of the Americans who fought and died to Liberate Europe. Truely, they are "heroes" and I will never forget that.
No question about it. We can only guess at the life we would have had without their courage. And I pray that another 53 million people don't have to die in order to settle a world scale dispute.
I always think about D-Day on June 6th every year and the soldiers who lost their life that day back in 1944. I'm reading a book called "Flags of our Fathers" about the famous picture taken by Joe Rosenthal of the Marines raising the American flag on top of Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. Almost 7000 Marines were killed with over 19,000 wounded. Of the 22,000 Japanese only about 1000 survived.
I just heard recently although I'm not sure where, or how accurate it was, that 52,000 allied soldiers died storming the beach on D-day.
I don't care if those soldiers are republican, democrats, or communists, my hat is off to them. Not to mention those who continued the struggle and provided freedom for people that they did not know.
I spent the day with my Uncle Ernest Huber, veteran of World War II. He is 93 years old and has a respirator to help him breathe part of the time. He is confined to a wheel chair mostly, but gets up and pushes it around to get where he wants to go if he's feeing well.
This fellows wife (Ann, my mom's sister) died from cancer two years ago. Fortunately one of his children has taken him into their home and is looking after him.
My 20 year old son met Ernest at a funeral in March of this year and cannot stop talking about him. Seems Ernest mentioned the war and my son is almost an expert on the subject.
Today we drove to see Ernest, something I should have done without the insistence of my son and we visited until later this afternoon. Among the photographs of Ernest with the troops was a Purple Heart and a Distinguished Service Cross. My son recognized them and ask if he could hold them.
Ernest picked them up and placed them in my son's hands and when my son remarked how very few people had received both these and lived this long, tears streamed down Ernest's face.
Ernest then told how the Germans hid big guns in buildings and when the US Tanks came down the street, they swung open the shutters and fired, hoping for a kill with one shot.
Ernest had his head outside a Sherman tank when this happened and received shrapnel in his back, shoulder and left side of his face and scull. The medics saved him.
Later there was a fire fight and Ernest bailed from the tank to pull a fellow GI from harm and got tangled in the tread of the tank which was moving for cover. His boot and clothing got caught and his foot shredded.
One surgeon suggested he amputate the foot, another said bandage it with antibiotics and see what happens, the third suggested working on it right away in an attempt to save it.
He took the advice of the last fellow and although his foot is mangled, it works and he lived on.
A few days before he was to return home he was in a personal carrier that went off a bridge and fell about 50 feet. His neck, back, ribs and arms were broken in several places and for awhile the doctors were not sure he would walk.
When Ernest returned home to Ann (they married three weeks before he shipped out) and they had three children and Ernest worked for Katy railroad and farmed the land west of Waco, TX to make ends meet.
Today he has 9 grandchildren and is diagnosed with congestive heart failure and emphysema.
I ask him today how he was feeling and he said, "Albert John, I have it good. My family is here, we have fresh vegetables from our garden, the kids are playing in the yard and I am happy."
Sometimes we need a dose of reality to make us count our blessings.