Friday, June 6, 2014

In the words of those who were there: June 6th, 1944

I have been planning all week a special informative blog about DDay. But, I woke up this morning and thought; I can't even start to tell a better story then the men themselves. So, we have DDay in the words of the people who were there.

This soldier writing to his parents, tells us how he felt:
2nd Lt Jack Lundberg Lead navigator, US air force, from Woods Cross, Utah 
May 19

Dear Mom, Pop and family,
Now that I am actually here I see that the chances of my returning to all of you are quite slim, therefore I want to write this letter now while I am yet able.
I want you to know how much I love each of you. You mean everything to me and it is the realisation of your love that gives me the courage to continue. Mom and Pop - we have caused you innumerable hardships and sacrifices - sacrifices which you both made readily and gladly that we might get more from life.
He goes on to thank family members, and tell them how much he loves them. Then:
We of the United States have something to fight for - never more fully have I realised that. There just is no other country with comparable wealth, advancement or standard of living. The USA is worth a sacrifice!
Remember always that I love you each most fervently and I am proud of you. Consider, Mary, my wife, as having taken my place in the family circle and watch over each other.
Love to my family
Jack
· Lundberg was killed in action two-and-a-half weeks after D-day, aged 25
Courtesy of the guardian: Letters from Dday pub May 24, 2004
We proceeded toward the beach, and many of the fellows got sick. The water was quite rough. It was a choppy ride in, and we received a lot of spray.
Our boat was one of six of A Company in the first wave, and when we got to the beach, or close to it, the obstacles erected by the Germans to prevent the landing were fully in view, as we were told they would be, which meant the tide was low.
I was the rifle sergeant and followed Lieutenant Anderson off the boat, and we did what we could rather than what we had practiced doing for so many months in England. There was a rather wide expanse of beach, and the Germans were not to be seen at all, but they were firing at us, rapidly, with a great deal of small-arm fire.
As we came down the ramp, we were in water about knee high, and we started to do what we were trained to do -- move forward, and then crouch and fire. One of the problems was we didn't quite know what to fire at. I saw some tracers coming from a concrete emplacement which to me looked mammoth. I never anticipated any gun emplacements being that big. I attempted to fire back at that, but I had no concept of what was going on behind me. There was not much to see in front of me except a few houses, and the water kept coming in so rapidly, and the fellows I was with were being hit and put out of action so quickly that it become a struggle to stay on one's feet. I abandoned my equipment, which was very heavy.
I floundered in the water and had my hand up in the air, trying to get my balance, when I was first shot. I was shot through the left hand, which broke a knuckle, and then through the palm of the hand. I felt nothing but a little sting at the time, but I was aware that I was shot. Next to me in the water, Private Henry G. Witt was rolling over towards me. "Sergeant, they're leaving us here to die like rats. Just to die like rats." I certainly wasn't thinking the same thing, nor did I share that opinion. I didn't know whether we were being left or not.
I made my way forward as best I could. My rifle jammed, so I picked up a carbine and got off a couple of rounds. We were shooting at something that seemed inconsequential. There was no way I was going to knock out a German concrete emplacement with a .30-caliber rifle. I was hit again, once in the left thigh, which broke my hip bone, and a couple of times in my pack, and then my chin strap on my helmet was severed by a bullet. I worked my way up onto the beach, and staggered up against a wall, and collapsed there. The bodies of the other guys washed ashore, and I was one live body amongst many of my friends who were dead and, in many cases, blown to pieces.
rifle sergeant, 116th Infantry

Courtesy american experience PBS



Dear Ma, Just a few lines tonight to let you know that I'm fine and hope everybody at home is in the best of health. I just finished playing baseball and took a nice shower and now I feel very nice. Hope every thing is going alright at home and don't forget if you ever need money you could cash my war bonds anything you want to. This afternoon I went to church and I received Holy Communion again today. Getting holy, ain't I? Well Ma, thats all I got to say to-night so I'll close with my love to all and hope to hear from you very soon. Take care of yourself. One of your loving sons, Harry

His Parents recieved a week later
Transcript:
THE SECRETARY OF WAR DESIRES ME TO EXPRESS HIS DEEP REGRET THAT YOUR SON PRIVATE HARRY SCHIRALDI HAS BEEN REPORTED MISSING IN ACTION SINCE SIX JUNE IN FRANCE IF FURTHER DETAILS OR OTHER INFORMATION ARE RECEIVED YOU WILL BE PROMPTLY NOTIFIED
His remains were returned to his family. He is buried at the Calvary Cemetery in New York.
And Finally
June 6th, 2014, marks the 70th anniversary of the Normandy invasions during World War II, known as D-Day. Schulz served with the Twentieth Armored Division as a machine-gun squad leader in the European Theater of Operations. His service remained an integral part of his life, to which he paid homage in PEANUTS comic strips with D-Day and Veterans Day theme
Charles Schultz Muesum.

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few

-Winston Churchill

For all generations that have come after, We thank the greatest generation for the freedoms we enjoy.
We Salute You

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