Thursday, June 6, 2019

D-Day is a Reminder To NEVER Forget, Not just sacrifices but why.

I've been watching all the D-Day 75th Year Memorial events on TV.  Always reminds me of my Dad.  He didn't go in on June 6th, 1944.  He was with the artillery guns, the 50th Field Artillery Battalion, of the 19th Infantry of the 5th Army of Patton's 3rd Division and they went in July 13, 1944. Part of several waves of soldiers in that operation. D-Day was only the beginning of many battles of a long war. Those first men on June 6th, were at the most risk and lost 90% in the first wave. Though others would perish in that war, that first event at Normandy was one of the worst, that's why we honor June 6th. Their sacrifices made it possible for the others behind them.

Dad said the papers said before he went in, that the allies were 20 miles in. That was not true, on July 13, he said they were only about 13 miles in and it was many times, hand to hand in the fence rows fighting. The objective was Cann, France, 26 miles inland. It took almost a month and a half to reach Cann on July 21, 1944.

I have dad's military annuals. He went from Iceland through all of Europe to finally meet the Russians in the war. He marched 125 miles in 4 days, in sub zero temperatures in  a summer uniform, (someone screwed up and sent the winter uniforms to Africa) to try to reach the men at the Bulge. Feats of strength and daring and some failures that I know in later years gave him nightmares. But he did it and he survived.

At the end of the war, for those that survived, he said they were giving out Purple hearts like candy to anyone that wanted one. They wanted to give him one for a scratch on his nose from a barb wire fence and he told them to shove it where the sun doesn't shine. Too many at the end he said, took them just for surviving but he thought that cheapened the sacrifices of those that had been killed and really injured. That's why when anyone told him they had a purple heart from WWII he'd always ask for what, when and where.

He made his way home after the war, on a military transport through Morocco, then Brazil and then hitting Florida and by train back to Bluefield WV.

After joining the Army in 1939, and staying for WWII, he then joined the Navy. When you asked him why he would say, "I wanted to ride in the rear with the beer for a while." He stayed through the Korean and Vietnam wars retiring in 1970. His Navy career was not as uneventful as he'd like and I'll write about that some other time.

So I made a couple of videos, and I want to post a few pictures of Dads from WWII.  We should never forget what they were fighting against in Europe...a mad man that believed in eugenics and genocide and a false idea there was a superior race. A strong man that took over governments and killed millions in his way. We should never forget the sacrifice of all those soldiers fighting those that wanted to expand and kill anyone not like them, the globe over, in that war. We should never forget the lessons and never stop fighting against that kind of ideology and for humanity.

Then I pulled together a few pictures and dad's singing Potter's Pirates, the song of his unit and playing a harmonica for Dad's Pictures Video

The lyrics to Potter's Pirates. 

To ALL the men and women who serve...we thank you.