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Tombstone of SS officer stolen from Normandy cemetery

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This is from Yahoo News.

I think you are the lowest form of life when you desecrate any grave be it a Nazi or Confederate grave or monument.

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A pot of flowers at the grave of German SS officer Michael Wittmann at the German war cemetery in La Cambe, France on July 28, 2015 (AFP Photo/Charly Triballeau)

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Grave of Michael Wittmann with the crew of Tiger 007, La Cambe Cemetery, France.

 

La Cambe (France) (AFP) – The gravestone of a formidable Nazi SS tank commander has been stolen from a German cemetery in the small Normandy town of La Cambe, municipal sources said Tuesday.

“The tombstone will be replaced. Even if it was a German officer, we must respect the dead,” La Cambe’s mayor, Bernard Lenice, told AFP.

A German national from the area who preferred to remain anonymous identified the SS officer whose tombstone was stolen “a few days ago” as tank commander Michael Wittmann.

“It was a square tombstone bolted to the ground with his name engraved upon it, but without any other inscription,” the source said, saying nothing on the stone indicated Wittmann’s role in the SS.

The German said the grave attracted numerous visitors — including Britons and Americans — drawn by Wittman’s reputation as having been one of the most daunting tank commanders in the German army.

The northwestern French region of Normandy was the theatre of fierce World War II battles between occupying Nazi forces and Allied armies that advanced eastward following the D-Day invasion.

The remains of soldiers from various countries involved in the fighting lie in graveyards across the area. The bodies of around 21,000 German soldiers are buried in La Cambe alone.

The theft of Wittmann’s stone has been reported to local police officials for investigation.

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Ronald Reagan’s Speech On The 40th Anniversary Of D-Day

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This is one of the finest speeches Ronald Reagan ever gave.

I close my eyes and listen to this speech I can picture these young men attacking the Normandy Beaches.

I can see the assault on Point-du-Hoc.

 

OF HEROES, AND BROTHERS

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This is from Warrior Scout.

R. I. P. Walter Ehlers. Hand Salute.

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The world said goodbye to Walt Ehlers, the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient who served in the D-Day invasion, one ago year ago today. Ehlers was forever defined by what he did in Normandy. What happened to his brother, though, left him unable to talk about the war for years. A look back on his life and service.

The sky that morning was black, filled with planes headed to bomb targets in and around Omaha Beach. There were so many planes, some soldiers waiting in the boats off the coast of Normandy wondered if there’d be any Germans left for them.

Walt Ehlers knew better. Four years before, he had been a 19-year-old Kansas farm boy, a Christian who didn’t drink or smoke. The most violent thing he’d ever done was wrestle his older brother, Roland. Then Walt enlisted in 1940, because Roland enlisted and Walt always looked up to Roland. Basic training followed, and then the invasion of French Morocco, the bloated bodies from ships sunk by Nazi submarines washing ashore for days after; and then came tank battles in Tunisia, the invasion of Sicily, the mortar blast that nearly killed Roland.

As dawn broke on June 6, 1944, Walt Ehlers, now 23, had kept his promise to his mother – he still didn’t drink or smoke – but he was a veteran of violent combat. Blood would pour onto the beach that day, he knew, and he hoped it would not be his or Roland’s

For the first time, the brothers would not fight alongside each other. Their commander had separated them, in the hope one would survive. Roland stayed in 1st Infantry Division’s Company K, while Walt was promoted to staff sergeant in charge of Company L -12 combat rookies. They’d be part of the second wave to storm Omaha Beach in the long-anticipated Allied invasion.

Not long after the first troops hit the sand at 6:30 a.m., word came back to the ships, six miles out. Heavy casualties. More troops, now. The men of Company L shimmied down the rope ladder into the Higgins boat. Ehlers had a Bible and a picture of his mother in his backpack, and a silk map of the French countryside sewn on his uniform. The next five days would forever change Ehlers’ life, as he took part in a campaign that shaped the course of history.

As the boat approached shore, the noise of gunfire and artillery got louder. Bodies bobbed in the water, as far as a mile out. Company L’s boat snagged on a sandbar about 100 yards out, and the ramp door dropped.

The water came up to Ehlers’ neck, and was over the heads of some of his men. They held their rifles above their heads as they waded ashore, bullets whizzing by, shells blasting into the water. As they reached sand, Ehlers’ men ducked to the ground. Germans in pillboxes overlooked the beach from perfect vantage points. A steady stream of machine gun and sniper fire poured forth from their fortifications, picking off men left and right.

Earlier invasions had taught Ehlers a few things: Don’t fear the sound of gunfire; the one you don’t hear is the one that kills you. The best way off the beach is to keep pressing forward.

Ehlers hollered for his men to keep going. A man came running through the chaos, the Navy beach master, and pointed to a path – lined with bodies and body parts – clear of mines.

Ehlers led his men up the beach, about 100 yards, to a sand berm decorated in barbed wire. On the other side lay a maze of trenches, and the only way out alive. Ehlers needed someone to blow the wire.

He shouted to two nearby Bangalore torpedo men from another unit, pinned down by sniper fire. “We’ll fire up at the trenches, if you blow the wire.” The first man got shot trying, but the second man succeeded in blowing the wire.

Ehlers and his men stormed up the trenches. They quickly captured one of the pillboxes from behind. The Germans they didn’t kill with gunfire and grenades fled through an escape hatch. From the vantage point that German gunners had held moments before, Ehlers surveyed the field; the beach below was of carnage. Somehow, all 12 men in Company L had made it through D-Day alive. The next day, Ehlers ran into the platoon sergeant for Company K. Roland was missing.

“You’re surrounded by Germans,” the message said, passed down from the commander. “Get out.”

It was the morning of June 10, 1944. In hedgerow country near Goville, France, Walt Ehlers and his unit were among several pushing further inland, trying to expand American-controlled territory. The day before, Ehlers had singlehandedly turned the tide of another fight. He’d killed at least seven Germans, took out two machine guns and a mortar position, and at one point ordered his men to fix bayonets, prompting several Germans to run rather than fight.

A day later, Ehlers and his men were severely outnumbered. Company L lay scattered across 150 yards of field being strafed by German gunfire. Ehlers needed someone to lay cover fire so the rest could retreat. He volunteered himself and Joe Hare, who manned the company’s BAR. Taking positions on a small mound of dirt, Ehlers and Hare leveled their weapons and started firing in a semicircle at the Germans. When they saw their men had escaped, they turned to go.

Ehlers was the first to get shot. The bullet spun him, and as his body twisted, he saw a German in a hedgerow firing at him. Ehlers got off one shot, killing him. About 20 yards behind Ehlers, Joe Hare fared worse: he got hit multiple times, and crumpled to the ground. Ehlers ran back to Hare, took him over his shoulder, and dragged him about 50 yards to safety. Then Ehlers went back to retrieve Hare’s gun.

“That was the only automatic rifle our squad had,” he later said. “It was important.” The German bullet had grazed Ehlers’ ribcage, narrowly missed his spine, gone out his back and entered his pack, slicing the corner of the picture of his mother.

“My God,” his commander told Ehlers as he looked at the wound, “you should be dead.”

By mid-July, Walt still had not heard more about Roland, who’d been missing since D-Day. On July 14, Walt and the rest of Company L were staying in an old farmhouse, about 14 miles inland, enjoying a week of rest. Roland’s commander came looking for Walt.

Roland was no longer missing, the commander said. The 27-year-old died on D-Day before he even set foot on the beach. He was killed by a German eighty-eight as he came down the boat ramp.

Walt saluted the commander, walked back into the farmhouse, lay down on a mattress and wept for about 30 minutes. Two days later, he and his company were back in action.

Five months later, Walt Ehlers received the Medal of Honor for his actions on June 9 and 10. Army investigators estimated he had killed at least seven and as many as 18 Germans and saved untold American lives.

He later served in the Battle of the Bulge, was wounded three more times, and earned the Silver Star and two Bronze Star medals. On May 7, 1945 – Walt’s 24th birthday – Germany surrendered. Ehlers asked for his discharge.

“We have great plans for you,” his commander said.

“I know,” Walt replied.

Ehlers returned to Kansas in late 1945. He sold a German pistol for $35, and used the money to move to southern California. He got a job as a counselor at the Veterans Administration, married a woman he met at an ice rink, and started a family. For a long time, he didn’t talk much about the war.

For years, Walt Ehlers had nightmares about Roland. They were always the same: Roland had come home. He was immaculately dressed and smiling. The brothers talked for a little, then Walt would go to get something and Roland would vanish.

For the first 16 years Ehlers worked at the VA, he didn’t mention his service or the medal. His colleagues were surprised one day to hear, over the intercom, a call from the White House inviting Ehlers to an event.

As the years passed, Ehlers started telling his story more. On the 50th anniversary of D-Day, he returned to Normandy (see below). He led President Bill Clinton on a tour of Omaha Beach, and gave a speech to 14,000 veterans and 17 heads of state.

Life after the war for Ehlers was a mix of a Rockwellian home life and the public life of a celebrity. He loved gardening, woodworking, and taking his three kids to Disney Land where he worked as a security guard after retiring. He met presidents, Steven Spielberg and Jimmy Buffet. He got a standing ovation at an NFL game. There’s a community center in Buena Park, Calif., named after him, and a road in Manhattan, Kan. He’s been an action figure and on a stamp.

In 2013, the body that survived two gunshots and multiple hits of shrapnel finally started to give out. Ehlers broke his left leg twice trying to stand. He wanted to get out of the hospital and make it to Normandy for the 70th anniversary of D-Day, but it became clear early this year that would not happen. He died Feb. 20, of complications from kidney failure. He was 92. Among his final words, his daughter said, was, “Tell my Medal of Honor brothers I love them.”

Ehlers was the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient who served in the D-Day invasion. His death left just seven surviving recipients who served in World War II.

“He was iconic for what he did in combat, but in telling about it, he was diffident. He was someone who never sought the spotlight,” said Pete Wilson, former governor of California who worked with Ehlers raising money for the National World War II Museum. “He was a remarkable man, one of incredible courage. But you’d have to learn that from someone other than Walt.”

In 2004, Ehlers talked about his service with the Orange County Register. His most proud accomplishment from the war, he said, was getting his men through D-Day alive. The conversation drifted to Roland. “I don’t have many nightmares about Roland anymore. But I still can’t talk about him without it bringing tears to my eyes,” he said. “Maybe that’s why I didn’t talk about the war for so long. I felt like if we’d been together, that wouldn’t have happened. But God sent us in different ways … He was my hero until the day he died. He still is.”

Normandy honours D-Day veterans

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This is from War History OnLine.

The French and others around Europe, while Americans,  including Obama, have chosen to forget.

My family and I will always remember the price paid by The Greatest Generation to keep the world free.

 

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[Via]

The northern district of Normandy in France is preparing to honour and commemorate the veterans and soldiers who gave their lives during World War Two.

The D-Day landings took place on 6th June 1944. It was the beginning of the liberation of France as thousands of Allied troops stormed the beaches at Normandy against the Nazi German invaders.

Now, Normandy’s local authorities have been honouring the veterans who took part in the landings with a commemorative 70th anniversary medal. The medal is to say a special thank you to all of those who took part in the operation and liberated France.

Joseph Stott from Utah is now 90 years old, and was just 19 when he landed at Omaha beach, has received the medal from French authorities. Joseph will join other veterans on an Honorary flight back to France this autumn with their families. They will visit the World War Two memorial in Normandy and take part in commemoration ceremonies.

Operation Neptune, as the beach landings were known and part of the overall Operation Overlord, was one of the biggest sea to land invasions in world history. The operation was the beginning of liberating France and the rest of Europe from Nazi Germany. It was the pinnacle to an attack that led all the way to Berlin and the fall of the Third Reich.

The operation was planned from 1943 onwards. There was a huge deception plan underway alongside the actual D-Day landings, so that the Germans would not suspect when and where the real attack was going to be made, the KSL.com reports.

Operation Bodyguard was the deception plan. In the lead up to D-Day the weather was not ideal, but if the Allies postponed they would have to wait another two weeks to allow for the phases of the moon. So military leaders decided to go ahead. Germany was anticipating an attack from the Allies, and Nazi Field Marshal Rommel had been put in charge of German troops in France, as well as ensuring coastal fortifications were suitable to fend off an Allied attack.

The first part of Operation Overlord was a huge air and sea attack onto the French mainland. Around 25,000 Allied paratroopers were dropped behind enemy lines during the night, followed by hundreds of divisions of land troops being shipped to the French coast early the next morning. Normandy’s beaches had been divided into five sections by Allied commanders, these were Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword Beach. The entire section stretched 80kms of the French coastline.

There were strong winds and many landing craft were blown off position, so many troops landed under heavy enemy fire. The beaches were littered with mines and defence obstacles put there by the Germans.The most casualties were at Omaha beach since it has very high cliff faces from which the Germans could defend well. Only Juno and Gold beaches were taken by the Allies in the first day of the invasion. The other beaches were all take around six days later.

 

George Patton’s Summer of 1944

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This is from Town Hall.

After weighing all of the facts several military historians among whose numbers were WWll veterans said the war could have ended in 1943.

But with Patton being sidelined for almost a year then his fuel and supplies being cut off the war drug on until 1945.

 

Nearly 70 years ago, on Aug. 1, 1944, Lieutenant General George S. Patton took command of the American Third Army in France. For the next 30 days they rolled straight toward the German border.

Patton almost did not get a chance at his summer of glory. After brilliant service in North Africa and Sicily, fellow officers — and his German enemies — considered him the most gifted American field general of his generation. But near the conclusion of his illustrious Sicilian campaign, the volatile Patton slapped two sick GIs in field hospitals, raving that they were shirkers. In truth, both were ill and at least one was suffering from malaria.

Public outrage eventually followed the shameful incidents. As a result, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower was forced to put Patton on ice for 11 key months.

Tragically, Patton’s irreplaceable talents would be lost to the Allies in the soon-to-be-stagnant Italian campaign. He also played no real role in the planning of the Normandy campaign. Instead, his former subordinate, the more stable but far less gifted Omar Bradley, assumed direct command under Eisenhower of American armies in France.

In early 1944, a mythical Patton army was used as a deception to fool the Germans into thinking that “Army Group Patton” might still make another major landing at Calais. The Germans apparently found it incomprehensible that the Americans would bench their most audacious general at the very moment when his audacity was most needed.

When Patton’s Third Army finally became operational seven weeks after D-Day, it was supposed to play only a secondary role — guarding the southern flank of the armies of Gen. Bradley and British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery while securing the Atlantic ports.

Despite having the longest route to the German border, Patton headed east. The Third Army took off in a type of American blitzkrieg not seen since Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s rapid marches through Georgia and the Carolinas during the Civil War.

Throughout August 1944, Patton won back over the press. He was foul-mouthed, loud and uncouth, and he led from the front in flamboyant style with a polished helmet and ivory-handled pistols.

In fact, his theatrics masked a deeply learned and analytical military mind. Patton sought to avoid casualties by encircling German armies. In innovative fashion, he partnered with American tactical air forces to cover his flanks as his armored columns raced around static German formations.

Naturally rambunctious American GIs fought best, Patton insisted, when “rolling” forward, especially in summertime. Only then, for a brief moment, might the clear skies facilitate overwhelming American air support. In August his soldiers could camp outside, while his speeding tanks still had dry roads.

In just 30 days, Patton finished his sweep across France and neared Germany. The Third Army had exhausted its fuel supplies and ground to a halt near the border in early September.

Allied supplies had been redirected northward for the normally cautious Gen. Montgomery’s reckless Market Garden gambit. That proved a harebrained scheme to leapfrog over the bridges of the Rhine River that would devour Allied blood and treasure, and accomplish almost nothing in return.

Meanwhile, the cutoff of Patton’s supplies would prove disastrous. Scattered and fleeing German forces regrouped. Their resistance stiffened as the weather grew worse and as shortened supply lines began to favor the defense.

Historians still argue over Patton’s August miracle. Could a racing Third Army really have burst into Germany so far ahead of Allied lines? Could the Allies ever have adequately supplied Patton’s charging columns given the growing distance from the Normandy ports? How could a supreme commander like Eisenhower handle Patton, who at any given moment could — and would — let loose with politically incorrect bombast?

We do not know the answers to all those questions. Nor do we quite know the full price that America had paid for having a profane Patton stewing in exile for nearly a year rather than exercising his leadership in Italy or Normandy.

We only know that 70 years ago, an authentic American genius thought he could win the war in Europe — and almost did. When his Third Army stalled, so did the Allied effort.

What lay ahead in winter were the Battle of the Bulge and the nightmare fighting of the Hürtgen Forest — followed by a half-year slog into Germany.

Patton would die tragically from injuries sustained in a freak car accident not long after the German surrender. He soon became the stuff of legend but was too often remembered for his theatrics rather than his authentic genius that saved thousands of American lives.

Seventy years ago this August, George S. Patton showed America how a democracy’s conscripted soldiers could arise out of nowhere to beat the deadly professionals of an authoritarian regime at their own game.

MEMORIAL DAY

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Hat Tip To Ambulance Driver Files.

Powerful words.

Also think about the Five Sullivan Brothers and the U. S. S. Juneau.

Most of us will spend the weekend grilling burgers and visiting with relatives, or lounging on a beach somewhere, or watching a baseball game in an opulent stadium, overpriced beer and hot dog in hand. And most of us will have forgotten the meaning of the day.

So when you partake in your Memorial Day festivities this weekend, try to remember a few things.

When the smoke from the grill blows into your eyes, try to imagine the terror of the young pilot as the smoke fills the cockpit of his F4 Wildcat, spiraling into the sea off Guadalcanal.

When you sample those pork ribs, remember the Iowa farm boy whose life blood stained the surf at Normandy.

When you eat a bite of potato salad, think of an Idaho preacher’s kid who died with a prayer on his lips, asking God to forgive him for the enemy soldiers’ lives he had taken.

While you enjoy the warm summer sun on your face, take a moment to think of the frozen bodies of American soldiers strapped to jeeps and tanks at the Chosin Reservoir.

When you welcome your niece’s new boyfriend to the table, remember the black kid from Mississippi who died right beside his white buddies in Vietnam, though he wasn’t even allowed to eat in the same restaurants back home.

When you scold your misbehaving grandchild, think of the little boy whose only knowledge of his father will come from stories told by family, because Daddy died on a dusty street in Fallujah while he was still in the womb.

When you fetch your wife another glass of tea, think of a young wife living in base housing at Fort Benning, as she hears the news that her husband died at Ia Drang.

When you invite Grandpa to say grace before the meal, think of young men cut down by a hail of fire from a Maxim at Belleau Wood.

When you reflect with pride on your daughter’s recent graduation, think of a young woman cartwheeling into the sea in her F14 Tomcat after a failed carrier landing.

When you look with distaste at the tattoos on her new boyfriend, think instead of the former gang kid from Detroit who found a way up and out of poverty in the Army, only to die from an IED blast in Baghdad. And remind yourself that what matters is how he treats your daughter, not the ink on his arms.

Whilst you enjoy your beer and bratwurst, remember the 19 -year-old Army private who died in a training accident in Grafenwohr in 1960, one of  many young men who knew they’d be little more than a speed bump should the Russians ever come pouring through the Fulda Gap. Yet still, they served.

When you sit at the table, think of a Navy Captain, a husband and father, who died at his Pentagon desk on September 11. His death was no less honorable.

If you’re traveling today, think of the passengers of United Flight 93, for in a field outside Shanksville they became the first soldiers in our war on terror.

When your boys fight, as boys will do, remember the boys on both sides who died at Gettysburg.

If a loved one can’t make it to the gathering today, think of Mrs. Bixby and her five sons.

While your kids play in the pool this afternoon, think of other kids not much older, trapped below decks as the Arizona went under at Pearl Harbor.

If you have bemoaned the layoffs of friends and co-workers in the recent economic crisis, think of the Navy SEAL who lost every single one of his teammates on a rainy night in Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

When you take a shower tonight, think of young men reeking of machine oil and sweat, desperately trying, and failing, to surface their wounded submarine somewhere in the Pacific in 1943.

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I tell you of these things not to spoil your appetite or your day, but to remind you that the things we enjoy in our lives are made all the sweeter when you consider what made them possible.

Remind yourself also that your sacrifice is infinitely easier. All you need do is sacrifice a moment of your time every few years to pull a lever. The way to honor a dead soldier is not simply to fly a flag on Memorial Day. Vote to preserve the freedoms they died defending. Elect leaders worthy of those rough young men and women who stand ready to do violence on your behalf.

And stop by your local Veteran’s Cemetery and put out some flowers on the grave of your choice. It need not even be the grave of someone you know.

Bring your children along, and explain to them why. It’s important.

Europe pulling all stops to mark 70th anniversary of key WWII events

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This is from Stars and Stripes.

Will America pull out all of the stops to mark the 70th Anniversary of WW ll events?

I know my family will be doing our best to honor our veterans.

 

  

FOULENG, Belgium — Some townspeople here still remember that day in April 1944 when a burning American B-17 screamed low overhead, crashed and exploded in a nearby field.

Crippled by German flak, the bomber sailed like a flaming arrow into ground now occupied by dozens of grazing cows. Antonio De la Serna, who was 11 when he witnessed the crash, shudders when recalling the sputtering roar of the dying engines.

“We were quite afraid,” he said.

But seven decades later, the town of Fouleng celebrates that day as if it were a holiday. Four Americans bailed out before impact. One was captured by the Germans; three were rescued by local residents. It was the villagers’ first brush with the forces that would, five months later, liberate Belgium.

“The reason we are here in Fouleng is that we all have a duty to remember,” Mayor Christian Leclercq said in a ceremony Sunday, marking 70 years to the day that the Flying Fortress crashed here. “For you Americans, it is to show your affection to the servicemembers who defended the country. For us Belgians, it is to thank the Americans for joining World War II against the invasion of the Nazis.”

The commemoration drew at least 100 people — the best-attended event marking the crash since a church service in 1944.

Those numbers were driven largely by the return of 94-year-old Troy Hollar, the sole surviving member of that ill-fated flight, and of more than 20 family members of the crew.

But time is also a critical factor.

Commemorations across the Continent are pulling out all the stops this year to mark the 70th anniversary of the last year of World War II, with an expectation that by the next major milestone in five years there might not be many WWII veterans to celebrate with.

The Netherlands American Cemetery, where 8,301 U.S. service-members from World War II are buried, is the second-most visited American cemetery in Europe — only Normandy gets more traffic. Yet despite healthy attendance of between 250,000 to 300,000 visitors annually, only three veterans of the war have visited in the last year, said Richard Arsenault, the cemetery’s assistant superintendent.

Not long ago, much of his time was spent accommodating veterans and their direct descendants.

“But now we realize that we are getting less,” he said. Visits by the siblings of World War II veterans also are in steep decline; same, too, for their children.

“We are getting a lot of, ‘He was our great uncle,’ or things like that,” Arsenault said.

Still, interest in the cemetery has not waned. Numerous groups, many of them made up of World War II enthusiasts from around Europe, are jostling to get their events on the cemetery’s calendar.

The crush is even more severe in Normandy, a large region of northern France where tens of thousands of Allied troops landed on five widely spread beaches on June 6, 1944, to establish the foothold that would lead to Germany’s defeat. Accommodations at local hotels have long been booked solid for the days of parades, fireworks, re-enactments and visits by world leaders that will commemorate the largest amphibious assault in history.

But there are scores — if not hundreds — of other events around the Continent over the next year, leading up to the 70th anniversary on May 8, 2015, of the Allied Victory in Europe. Many are organized by local groups and not much publicized. Others draw huge crowds and celebrities.

On April 28, a group dedicated to preserving the history of Exercise Tiger — a large-scale rehearsal for the D-Day invasion of Normandy — will hold a memorial service in honor of the 946 American servicemen who died at Slapton Sands in Devon, England.

On May 18, Britain’s Prince Harry goes to Italy to commemorate four major battles between January and May 1944 in which nearly a quarter-million Allied troops from Britain, the United States, Poland, India, France and New Zealand took part. Referred to by some as the Stalingrad of the Italian front, the fourth battle ended with the liberation of Monte Cassino and opened a passage for the Allies to advance on Rome.

Celebrations across France will dominate much of the late spring and early summer, starting with the Normandy invasion in June and continuing with the liberation of Cherbourg June 26, Caen on July 9, and scores of other lesser-known places along the route to Paris, which was retaken by friendly forces on Aug. 25, 1944.

In Belgium, where Fouleng held a memorial ceremony Sunday, the real celebration kicks off in September to mark the country’s liberation. From Sept. 5-7, the city of Mons will host “Tanks in Town,” featuring a large collection of vintage armor to commemorate its liberation by forces from the U.S. 3rd Armored Division.

The Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial will be host to two concerts and a film from Sept. 12-14 to commemorate the country’s liberation.

Also starting Sept. 14, the Belgians and Dutch launch a week of celebrations marking Operation Market Garden, the Allies’ unsuccessful attempt to bring the war to an early end depicted in the classic war film “A Bridge Too Far.” Though the schedule isn’t set, it’s expected to include convoys of some 600 vintage military vehicles that will drive from Leopoldsburg, Belgium, to Veghel, Netherlands, Sept. 14, and from Veghel to Nijmegen, Netherlands, Sept. 20.

After that, the winter is peppered with events in remembrance of the Battle of the Bulge, the German counteroffensive that left some 19,000 Americans dead and many more wounded or captured. Thousands of people, many in vintage uniforms, are expected to take part in road marches and re-enactments with special attention placed on the feats of the American 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions.

All of these events are expected to be bigger than usual because, for re-enactors and other World War II enthusiasts, “if [the year] ends in a five or a zero, they’re going to want to be part of it,” Arsenault said.

D-Day 2013: Army veteran recounts Holocaust, Normandy

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This is from WJLA ABC 7 News.

Chuck Stien would be a great person to hear his story.

 

Now 93 years old, Chuck Stein looks back on June 6, 1944 from his retirement community, Greenspring, in Springfield.

 

Stein fled Nazi-occupied Austria right before the Holocaust at age 18. He fought for the U.S. Army and was in Normandy on D-Day. Photo: Jessica McKay
Stein’s ID from medical school is stamped “auslander,” which means “foreigner.” Photo: Jessica McKay
Stein receiving a bronze medal after working for the Pentagon and State Department. Photo: Jessica McKay

“It’s been a long time,” he says.

Stein fled Nazi-occupied Austria right before the Holocaust at age 18. He fought for the U.S. Army and was in Normandy on D-Day.

“It was murder,” he says. “Bodies all around. Nobody really knew where we were going or what we were doing.”

Stein left behind his parents and years later took a cruise ship to America. He last saw his mother and father in 1938.

Stein later joined the Army as an interrogator of German prisoners in Europe.

“It was payback,” he says. “I left Austria in 1938, Hitler marched through Austria in 1938.”

Stein received two bronze stars and the Defense Medal of Freedom after working for the Pentagon and State Department in intel as a civilian. His ID from medical school is stamped “auslander,” which means “foreigner.” He couldn’t prove his Austrian residency and the ID was his ticket out from Nazi persecution.

“I would put it under the heading, that’s all I can say,” he says. “I was lucky in a lot of places…”

Stein has three children and seven grandchildren in the D.C. area. He volunteers at the Holocaust Museum. It was there where he discovered what ultimately happened to his parents. Records show they were gassed on Feb. 28, 1942. Stein says he lights a candle on that very day each year.

Read more: http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/06/d-day-2013-army-veteran-gives-fresh-perspective-89783.html#ixzz2YEFMOrdN
Follow us: @ABC7News on Twitter | WJLATV on Facebook

 

Ronald Reagan’s Speech On The 40th Anniversary Of D-Day

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This is one of the finest speeches Ronald Reagan ever gave.

I close my eyes and listen to this speech I can picture these

young men attacking the Normandy Beaches.

I can see the assault on Point-du-Hoc.

 

 

 

D-Day June 6,1944

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The future of the free world depended on D-Day‘s success.

Thousands of young men lost a promising life.

Young men from the United States, England,Canada,Scotland

and other Allied countries.

Many young German young men lost their lives also.

This spelled the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany.

We owe the young men from the United States and

Allied countries more than we could ever repay.

 

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