Monday, June 5, 2017

73 years ago, they were airborne

And on their way to Normandy.

It was the Day Of Days:
If you are lucky, very lucky, on that day, you will walk all the way to Germany and the war will be over and you will go home to a town somewhere on the great land sea of the Midwest and you won’t talk much about this day, or any that came after it, ever. They’ll ask you, throughout long decades after, “What did you do in the war?” You’ll think of this day and you will never think of a good answer. That’s because you know just how lucky you were. 
If you were not lucky on that day you lie under a white cross on a large lawn 73 long gone years later.
My best friend Rick's dad was one of the men who walked from Normandy to Germany.  He never spoke of those days to us, not until the 1990s when he was old.  I asked him why - since he knew that we would have loved those stories - he hadn't said anything.  He said that he was busy getting on with his life.  It wasn't much of an answer, but maybe there wasn't a good answer.

Then I asked him why he was telling us now.  He said so that people would know about his buddies when he was gone.  His buddies who weren't lucky like he had been.  The ones under those white crosses.

He was a kind, funny, gentle soul.  And a warrior once.  Rest in peace, Jake.  I hope you have a final muster with your buddies.


Arthur said...

Huh, the santa-plump-and-jolly old guy who used to run the local gas station never said jack until after Saving Private Ryan was out of the theaters and on TV.

It was playing in re-runs when I stopped in - the beach scene with all the rounds pinging off the tank traps. I mentioned that it must have been hell having to charge into that sh*t. He said he'd have done that 10 times over if it meant not having to freeze in Bastogne.

LSP said...

Thanks for that. RIP.

Rev. Paul said...

I just thank God that we had such men, and that we still have some, today.

LindaG said...

My condolences to all who knew him. I agree and thank God for the Greatest Generation.
God bless.

waepnedmann said...

When I was in high school, back in another century, there was a program called "Scared Straight" where they brought in cons to tell us about prison and the evil of drugs. One of our classmates, with an attitude, asked one of the COs who was escorted the cons if he had ever done drugs. The CO said, "Never!" He the hesitated, developed a pensive look, and said, "Once. I dropped into Normandy on D Day with the 101st Airborne, and I knew when I stepped out that door I was either going to be killed on the way down or shot-up so bad that if I survived I would be in severe pain, so I hit myself with my morphine as I stepped out. I puked all the way down."
Obviously he made that walk.

drjim said...

One of my Dad's brothers went in the first wave of paratroopers.

Like my Dad, who went all over the Pacific with the SeaBees, he never much talked about it, but he did show me the Luger he took from a dead German officer.

No reply to the question of who shot the German.....

libertyman said...

Every American, and every Frenchman and Frenchwoman should go to Normandy to see what they were up against. The craters are still there as well as the bunkers. You will be moved to tears to see the American Cemetery.