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D Day


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We are gathered here, representatives of the major warring powers, to conclude a solemn agreement whereby peace may be restored. The issues, involving divergent ideals and ideologies, have been determined on the battlefields of the world and hence are not for our discussion or debate. Nor is it for us here to meet, representing as we do a majority of the people of the earth, in a spirit of distrust, malice or hatred. But rather it is for us, both victors and vanquished, to rise to that higher dignity which alone befits the sacred purposes we are about to serve, committing all our people unreservedly to faithful compliance with the understanding they are here formally to assume.


It is my earnest hope, and indeed the hope of all mankind, that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past -- a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance and justice.

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"Saving Private Ryan" and a few other movies touched upon the story of a young paratrooper

with the 101st. AirBorne unit whose "chute" got caught on a church steeple as he dropped into

a town (Bastigone I believe) behind the lines on D-Day, or possibly the day before.

Hanging there, defenseless, the Nazi's took turns shooting at him, his arms, legs, etc, gambling

on whether it would be a "hit or miss".(the movies don't tell about the gambling, too dehumanizing I guess)


The story is true, the Paratrooper was a young man from a W.Va. coal mining town, that was

technically too short to enter the service, but they needed men.

He was my Mothers 1st Fiancee'........had he come home, they were to have married.


I was about 10 when I wandered into my parents bedroom, and found my Mother sobbing and looking into

a small wooden box, The box contained his posthumus medals, his Army photo, and the "Dear Mrs. XXXX

we regret to inform you........" telegram that his mother had given to my Mom when she recieved them.


She told me what had happened.......then, decades later, a few movies actually made reference to the event.


We should all remember, that every soldier, fallen, wounded, or returned safely, adds 1 more HUMAN

piece to the story of war.

Every soldier has a family.

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On June 6th, 1944, my father, a US Army Major (Engineers Corps), was in the England overseeing preparation, plans and exacution of what he had been there working on for the 18 months prior. His engineering and supply unit, the 398th Engineers, attached to the European Theater Of Operations (ETO) Headquarters, had been given the task in late '42 to figure out how to SECRETLY amass enough equipment, supplies and men in southern England, and then how to get them on the boats to meet the D-Day schedule for the massive surprise invasion of France.


It seems the plan worked.


His unit continued to follow the troops across Europe setting up ports and depots in towns such as Cherbourg, and Deauxville, France (and many others), to provide engineering support and supply services for the rest of the war in Europe. It seems as the Germans were pushed back across Europe, they were ordered to destroy everything they left behind, so the engineers pretty much had to start from scratch on the infrastructure and logistics for the liberation. My father did not talk much about those days, and by the time I got interested in it from the D-Day 50th anniversary hoopla, he had been gone for 4 years.

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