World War 2 Heroes: Wallenberg honored by Righteous among the Nations for saving Jews during Holocaust

World War 2 Heroes: Wallenberg honored by Righteous among the Nations for saving Jews during Holocaust

Raoul Wallenberg

Raoul_WallenbergRaoul Gustaf Wallenberg (4 August 1912 – disappeared 17 January 1945)[1][2][3][4] was a Swedish architect, businessman, diplomat and humanitarian. He is widely celebrated for saving tens of thousands[5] of Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary during the Holocaust from German Nazis and Hungarian Fascists during the later stages of World War II. While serving as Sweden’s special envoy in Budapest between July and December 1944, Wallenberg issued protective passports and sheltered Jews in buildings designated as Swedish territory.[5]

On 17 January 1945, during the Siege of Budapest by the Red Army, Wallenberg was detained by Soviet authorities on suspicion of espionage and subsequently disappeared.[6] He was later reported to have died on 17 July 1947 while imprisoned by communist authorities and KGB secret police in the Lubyanka, the KGB headquarters and affiliated prison in Moscow. The motives behind Wallenberg’s arrest and imprisonment by the Soviet government, along with questions surrounding the circumstances of his death and his possible ties to US intelligence, remain mysterious and are the subject of continued speculation.[7]

Due to his courageous actions on behalf of the Hungarian Jews, Raoul Wallenberg has been the subject of numerous humanitarian honors in the decades following his presumed death. In 1981, U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos, himself one of those saved by Wallenberg, sponsored a bill making Wallenberg an Honorary Citizen of the United States. He is also an honorary citizen of Canada, Hungary, Australia and Israel.[8] Israel has also designated Wallenberg one of the Righteous among the Nations. Monuments have been dedicated to him, and streets have been named after him throughout the world. A Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States was created in 1981 to “perpetuate the humanitarian ideals and the nonviolent courage of Raoul Wallenberg”.[9] It gives the Raoul Wallenberg Award annually to recognize persons who carry out those goals. A postage stamp was issued by the U.S. in his honour in 1997. On 26 July 2012, he was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal by the United States Congress “in recognition of his achievements and heroic actions during the Holocaust.”[10]

More about Wallenberg at Wikipedia:

Memorial Day: Remembering World War 2 Heroes

Memorial Day: Remembering World War 2 Heroes

This World War II Soldier’s Story Reminds Us of Why Memorial Day Matters

James Carafano

memorial-day2arlingtonIf any day is more than just a day, then Memorial Day is it.

Sometimes remembering just one soldier reminds us why.

His name was Lawrence Gordon. He grew-up on a hard-scrabble farm in Canada. After Pearl Harbor, he decided to join the American Army. The Americans had better “kit.”

The Army sent Gordon into the center of the storm, as the allies battled from the beaches of Normandy breaking through the German defenses and then racing to encircle the enemy as it withdrew from France.

Gordon was on the sharp edge of the bayonet. His cavalry unit, in thinly skinned armored vehicles, was dispatched way to the front or the flanks to find the enemy before the more heavily armored columns were called up to engage. Sometimes “finding” the enemy started with a wild exchange of gunfire or the unexpected burst of mortar rounds. Patrols could go from tense silence to vicious firefights in seconds. Gordon’s letters home to the family and his girl kept up their spirits with assurances he was safe and surrounded by dependable comrades and delivered a travelogue of his little unit’s march across France.

One day the letters stopped.

The family received a partially burned wallet. They knew it was his. The picture of his girl was singed but still recognizable. But other than a few personal effects, there was no explanation of what had happened to Lawrence Gordon—and no body. He was missing in action—and would remain so for almost 70 years.

A documentary, “Honoring a Commitment,” by a young filmmaker named Jeb Henry, tells the extraordinary story of how his loved ones found Private Gordon and brought him home.

The new film, recently screened at The Heritage Foundation in partnership with National Review, is part detective story and part love story, a journey of a family’s determined unrelenting effort to find and honor a brave man.

Remembering Private Gordon is important for all of us. Any remembrance of war that doesn’t include the telling of individual stories lessens the purpose of the day–and why it is important that we remember.

Sometimes the enormity of war overwhelms the truth that all great struggles are just the sum of individual stories. Each is more than just the story of one soldier’s service and sacrifice. Their service ripples across their families, friends and their communities. Memorial Day reminds us it is the noble sacrifice of many that makes us who we are.

Every soldier’s story of World War II is worth telling. Every story of every soldier in every war has value. Every generation of American soldiers is the greatest generation. What is most extraordinary about the extraordinary story of Private Gordon and his extraordinary family is that it is singularly representative of what the fight for freedom and the eternal struggle for the preservation of liberty really means.

MemorialDay1They Stood For Something and We Owe Them Something’: Reagan’s 1986 Memorial Day Speech

Remembering Those Who Never Came Home

History Facts, World War 2 Heroes vs. Revisionist History, Indoctrination in Schools

History Facts, World War 2 Heroes vs. Revisionist History, Indoctrination in  Schools

A Case for America’s Goodness

By Lloyd Marcus

               WWII veteran Edgar Harrell who survived the torpedoing of the USS Indianapolis. The ship sank in 12 minutes, and 300 boys died on the ship. Nine hundred went into the water.

Sharks devoured hundreds. Mr. Harrell entered the water with a group of 82. By the fourth day only two were alive.

Mr. Harrell thanked God for rotten potatoes to eat and a few drops of rain water to drink. He wept recalling hearing a boy pray, “God, I don’t wanna die! I’ve got a son back home!” Mr. Harrell spent four and a half days in the water; his skin covered in oil.

A technical problem forced a military plane to lower its altitude. Miraculously, a crew member spotted boys in the water. He radioed, “Ducks on the pond!” Another plane arrived witnessing the horror of boys attacked by sharks. Because the plane was not designed for a such a risky water rescue, the plane was ordered not to land. The crew unanimously decided to disobey. Tearing up a motor on impact, the plane rescued 56 boys, tying seven to the wings. Mr. Harrell attributes his survival to divine providence.

Revisionist History

   I welled up hearing Mr. Harrell express his sadness over “the revision of military history today.”

In 1835, French sociologist and political theorist Alexis de Tocqueville perceived that “America is great because America is good…” Mr. Harrell’s generation knew America was good because they were taught U.S. history without leftists’ bias, distortions, and lies.

Indoctrination in Schools

               For decades, passive Christians, conservatives, and Republicans have allowed Democrats/leftists to indoctrinate our kids, shamefully teaching them that America is not good. Far too many youths believe leftists’ outrageous lie that America is the greatest source of evil on the planet. America’s leftists say we have no moral authority to lead the world or say who should or should not have nuclear weapons. Thank God Trump nixed Obama’s insane deal that gifted the world’s leading sponsors of terrorism a nuclear bomb.

Leftists love to throw America’s sin of slavery into the faces of each new generation of whites; cruelly teaching white kids that they are born racist. These evil instigators of racial division and hate ignore the truth that Godly good white Americans fought, suffered and died to liberate blacks; 360,222 union soldiers died in the Civil War to end slavery.

In 2008, white Americans ran to the polls to vote for the first black president, naively believing it would heal our racial divide; ending the left’s branding of Americans as racist. American voters had no idea Obama would use his skin-color to bludgeon Americans into surrendering to his extreme anti-God and anti-America agendas. Still, Americans awarded leftists’ Trojan Horse president a second term. Americans are good. After eight years of Obama administration race-baiting, Americans were polarized along racial lines.

In 1948, my friend Peg was around seven years old when her retired Army colonel dad took the family to dinner at their favorite restaurant. After the waitress took their orders and returned with drinks, Peg’s dad noticed a black couple seated before them had not been served. Peg’s dad asked the waitress why. She said they were hoping the couple would leave as they were not wanted there. Peg’s dad replied, “Well, if they are not wanted then we aren’t either!” Peg’s family left and never went back. Peg said her dad taught them respect for all people with that dinner encounter. Americans are good.

According to a report, America is the most generous nation in the world where its citizens give the most to charities. 

Remember the leftists’ evil lie that Americans did not care about the victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita because they were black? The truth is 26 million Americans donated $4 billion. Americans are good.

Cultural Marxism

                Folks, my greatest beef with Obama was him relentlessly lowering the cultural and moral bar and dignity of what it means to be an American. Obama ran ads encouraging Americans to get on welfare. He thrived on instilling class envy (the sin of covetousness). He threw away the joy and honor of becoming a legal U.S. citizen by opening our borders to illegal invaders; shockingly courting them with food stamps and freebies.

Today, Mr. Harrell travels the country speaking to young people; mentoring young men to live clean lives. He says he must tell his story because of the revision of military history. America is good.

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American

Help Lloyd spread the Truth


A Case for America’s Goodness

History Heroes: World War 2 Veterans

History Heroes:

World War 2 Veterans

Lest We Forget

By Bret Holt*

world-war2-vets-pacific-theaterNovember 2016 – An old man stops suddenly, transfixed by a photographic mural on a wall of the National Museum of the Pacific War. He looks into the faces of a group of young U.S. soldiers. His grandson watches in silence as tears well up in Gramps’ eyes. Finally after what seems an eternity, the youngster dares to speak.


The old soldier snaps back to the present and turns to his grandson, then points toward the mural.

“That’s me,” he whispers.

Saving the stories



That story and countless others like it help the NMPW fulfill its mission to “honor the eight million Americans who served in the war against Japan and the more than 100,000 who gave their lives.”

“We want to tell the human side of the story,” Brandon Vinyard told AFA Journal. Vinyard, director of marketing and public relations, believes the museum is unique – telling both American and Japanese stories.

The Fredericksburg, Texas, site is the only museum dedicated exclusively to the Pacific Theater of World War II. It has over 50,000 square feet of exhibit space filled with actual tanks, planes, and ships that were used in the Pacific.

The museum is financially supported by and under management of the Admiral Nimitz Foundation whose mission is in part to “preserve and exhibit the material history of the war in the Pacific-Asiatic Theater during World War II.”

The Nimitz Foundation was established in 1971 to provide development funding for a museum honoring Admiral Chester Nimitz, Fredericksburg’s native son and Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces, Pacific Ocean Area. Annually, the museum welcomes over 100,000 visitors, including about 15,000 middle and high school students.

Archiving the artifacts

The George H.W. Bush Gallery, the main exhibit space, tells the chronological story of the war in the Pacific.
This gallery features a state-of-the-art 33,000 square foot exhibition housing 40 media installations, approximately 900 artifacts in 97 climate controlled cases, 15 macro artifacts, and hundreds of photographs.

“Here visitors go a hundred years back, before Pearl Harbor…and we’re going to lay the groundwork for why Japan attacked Pearl Harbor,” explained Vinyard. From that point, patrons are taken through the entire period of the war through the Doolittle Raid, the dropping of the atomic bombs, and the final signing of the articles of surrender aboard the U.S.S. Missouri on September 2, 1945.

The Bush Gallery boasts a number of exceptional artifacts including a Hell Cat fighter, a B25 Bomber, and a Stuart tank that was under the command of the Australians. Amazingly, the unrestored Stuart tank, complete with a hole blown through the front and the actual Japanese gun that took out the tank, is on display along with videography of the Japanese tank commander describing the incident.

Another particularly interesting artifact is a real Japanese submarine that ran aground on Oahu at the start of the war. The captain of that submarine became the first WWII prisoner of war taken by U.S. troops. These artifacts are accompanied by state-of-the-art audio and video presentations that provide additional information and context.

An actual door from the U.S.S. Arizona shows an oil stain and a hole cut through it in an attempt to rescue survivors, poignantly reminding visitors of the human side of the conflict.

According to Vinyard, one of many unique artifacts on display is a Japanese Rex Float Plane. Fewer than 89 of these planes were made during the war, and only three remain in existence today. The museum is the only place in the world that has one of these unique aircraft on display.

Honoring the heroes

Over the years, many WWII veterans have visited the museum with their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Vinyard said many emails he receives from children of World War II vets describe the impact visiting the museum had on their parents and about how they had never spoken about their service in the past, but now “we can’t get him to shut up about it.”

Vinyard often sees veterans open up and begin sharing their stories as they move through the exhibits.

Another popular component of the museum is the Pacific Combat Zone. This interactive indoor/outdoor exhibit allows guests to experience a taste of what soldiers went through during the war.

vetsweowethemIn October 2015, the museum began construction of a two-phase $8 million renovation. Phase one, now complete, includes a PT 309 Boat exhibit in which visitors step on deck as the boat is being equipped for a mission.

Visitors go below deck on an aircraft carrier and see a TBM preparing for a mission. Interactive games allow guests to launch torpedoes at enemy ships and man anti-aircraft guns. Phase two of this renovation project is scheduled to open in the spring of 2017.

An exhibit that stands in stark contrast to others is the Japanese Garden of Peace. Here, in the midst of a museum dedicated to possibly the greatest military conflict in human history, sits an oasis of peace and tranquility, a gift from the people of Japan to the people of the United States in honor of Admiral Nimitz. Walking along the streams and pools or sitting among the stones, visitors are encouraged to quietly reflect, in whatever manner they choose, on the war and those who fought.

With these vastly diverse components and many more state-of-the-art exhibits, the NMPW portrays the sheer enormity of the war in the Pacific-Asiatic Theater. At the same time, the museum never loses sight of the fact that this grand conflict was fought by millions, each of whom has a unique story that deserves to be told. It was fought by sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers, many of whom never returned home.

Their endless stories are masterfully woven into the larger narrative of the War in the Pacific. Additionally, hundreds of artifacts allow the visitor to travel back in time and view real pieces of history that played a critical role in the war.

soldiersfallenlestweforget2As more and more WWII veterans pass away – 555 every day according to the National WWII Museum – it becomes all the more important to ensure that their stories and their sacrifices are recorded in a way that honors the profoundly significant service they performed for their nation and the world.

In essence, these men and women were called upon to save the world. And they delivered. This remarkable museum in Texas Hill Country just west of Austin is playing a crucial role in assuring that the history of WWII in the Pacific is properly preserved, and that these veterans are remembered with the respect they deserve.

“It’s a place where they feel comfortable,” Vinyard said, “because their story is being told correctly.”

*Bret Holt is administrative assistant at the Chickasaw Inkana Foundation in Tupelo, Mississippi.

The museum is a premiere research site for any student of history. The Nimitz Education and Research Center was established to share the NMPW’s vast archives. Professional historians and students find NERC to be an invaluable resource.

Highlights of the collection include more than 4,100 oral histories, 700 memoirs, the American Volunteer Group (Flying Tiger) Collection, the LCI association collection, and several personal collections. NERC also holds a library of more than 5,000 books.

History Heroes: How did the Greatest Generation conquer 20th Century Terrorism?

History Heroes:

Terrorism Facts Part 2

greatest-generation4-much-owed-fewHow did the Greatest Generation conquer 20th Century Terrorism?

In Part 1 of this article we learned a reason for the inexplicable behavior of many people in our society—that is, going over to the dark side, to join with or defend Islamic terrorism. This state of mind and emotion in which we are vulnerable to being converted “at the point of a sword” is called the Stockholm Syndrome. Islamic terrorism has been around for centuries, had connections with Nazism in the 20th century, and exists as Islamo-fascism today. Here, in Part 2, we learn how the Greatest Generation conquered terrorism. We can benefit by learning lessons from great history heroes.

Terrorism Facts, Part 1: How does a Society first abhor, then embrace Terrorism?


Of Terror and Courage, Part 2:

What would the ‘Greatest Generation’ Do?

keyThese are the kinds of measures the WWII generation would have implemented, at least for starters. Call it tough love on a national scale. But that in turn requires two things in short supply today: courage and moral clarity. ~David Kupelian


IS THERE A CURE FOR THIS TERRIBLE SYNDROME? Yes, and since Americans have a history of vanquishing tyrants, let’s explore the powerful lessons they’ve bequeathed to us.

First, let’s look at how the “Greatest Generation” managed to vanquish major evil “isms” like Nazism and Japanese imperialism.

Judeo-Christian Values

greatest-generation1To understand how the WWII generation was able to deal so effectively with monstrous totalitarian movements, it’s essential to realize the fundamental difference between America then and now. For all our problems back then, America had tremendous national unity and a strong sense of identity. Judeo-Christian values were still paramount at work, play and everyday life—they comprised the cultural “air” we all breathed. We weren’t yet crippled by national guilt, self-doubt and self-hatred like we are today. There’s no way we could have been bamboozled into thinking same-sex marriage is perfectly normal, or that slaughtering innocent babies in the womb is moral and constitutional, or that posting the Ten Commandments on a courthouse wall somehow violates the First Amendment.


greatest-generation3-vs-entitledIn other words, we were not corrupted with the anti-biblical philosophies and utter confusion that have suffocated our modern era and robbed it of genuine moral strength. Back then, the unified national character and confidence of the “Greatest Generation” allowed us to make the tough decisions that were necessary to preserve our nation, rescue our allies, and end a terrible war.

Perhaps the most controversial action in U.S. military history was dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to break the will of the maniacal Japanese war effort. Decades later, arguments still abound both for and against this use of the A-bomb.

But whatever you may think in retrospect about the destruction of those two Japanese cities, what is undeniable is that doing so accomplished more than end the war with Japan. It broke Japan. It confronted the “evil spirit” that had possessed that nation—a totalitarian, emperor-worshipping military cult obsessed with expansion—and violently exorcized it.

greatest-generation2-ww2Having neutralized the evil that had captivated Japan, America became that nation’s friend and helped massively reconstruct it, ultimately turning Japan into the civilized, successful, First World economic power it is today. Think how utterly amazing that is.

For that matter, after the Allies annihilated Hitler’s war machine and along with it the german capacity and will to conquer its neighbors, the U.S. also helped a newly sober Germany become a great Western power. Our enemies, Japan and Germany, became our friends.

No, I’m not saying “Nuke Mecca.” I am simply affirming what Arial Sharon said years ago: We must create in the enemy “a psychology of defeat, to beat them every time and to beat them so decisively that they would develop the conviction they could never win.

appeasement-quoteRemember, moral weakness—appeasement—whether in individuals or nation states, always encourages violence.

Just as with communists and Nazis, today’s Islamo-fascists regard goodwill gestures and concessions as contemptible weakness and an irresistible invitation to take advantage. Hitler, shortly after the appeasing Neville Chamberlain arrived home proudly displaying his worthless peace treaty, turned around and attacked Britain.

So, what would the U.S. Congress of the WWII era do today about frequent threats by radical Islamists to commit further terror on the U.S. homeland?

The “Greatest Generation’s” lawmakers would probably—after making a brief apology to all law-abiding Muslims living here—announce immediate and severe restrictions on immigration into the U.S. from Muslim countries. No more Muslim chaplains in our prisons to act as recruiters.

no-shariaNo more Saudi-funded, anti-American Islamic schools here. If a mosque in the U.S. is proven to have been used for storing terror weapons and fomenting revolution, it gets bulldozed—immediately. You get the idea. We’re at war. These are the kinds of measures the WWII generation would have implemented, at least for starters.

Call it tough love on a national scale. But that in turn requires two things in short supply today: courage and moral clarity.


Terrorism Facts, Part 3: Courage and Moral Clarity

Terrorism Facts, Part 1: How does a Society first abhor, then embrace Terrorism?


Gospel Teachings: World War 2 Heroes show Service to God brings Blessings

Gospel Teachings:

Service to God brings Blessings

A Sacred Trust

Thomas S. Monson

This precious gift of priesthood power brings with it not only solemn responsibilities but also special blessings for ourselves and for others.

rescue-downed-pilot-oceanDuring World War II, a friend of mine was serving in the South Pacific when his plane was shot down over the ocean. He and the other crew members successfully parachuted from the burning plane, inflated their life rafts, and clung to those rafts for three days.

On the third day they spotted what they knew to be a rescue vessel. It passed them by. The next morning it passed them by again. They began to despair as they realized that this was the last day the rescue vessel would be in the area.

Then the Holy Spirit spoke to my friend: “You have the priesthood. Command the rescuers to pick you up.”

He did as prompted: “In the name of Jesus Christ and by the power of the priesthood, turn about and pick us up.”

Within a few minutes the vessel was beside them, helping them on deck. A faithful and worthy bearer of the priesthood, in his extremity, had exercised that priesthood, blessing his life and the lives of others.

May we determine, here and now, ever to be prepared for our time of need, our time of service, our time of blessing.

As we now conclude this general priesthood session, I say to you that you “are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9). May we ever be worthy of these divine accolades.

History Facts: World War 2 Heroes Remember D Day

History Facts:

World War 2  Heroes Remember D Day

The Heroes of D-Day in Their Own Words, 72 Years Later

John Hayward

Time will inevitably take the last heroes of D-Day from us, but a few remain, telling their stories to rapt audiences across the nation.

7th June 1944:  American assault troops and equipment landing on Omaha beach on the Northern coast of France, the smoke in the background is from naval gunfire supporting the attack.  (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

7th June 1944: American assault troops and equipment landing on Omaha beach on the Northern coast of France, the smoke in the background is from naval gunfire supporting the attack. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Donald Rutter of the 82nd Airborne recalled having a decent red-eye flight from England to France, but then he jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, and his whole day went to hell.

He said a sniper’s bullet went over his shoulder to hit his lieutenant, and he wound up hiding from 20mm cannon fire in a barn.

“But I happened to survive it,” Rutter, now 94, told his local paper, the Reading Eagle. He said what happened next was “a long story.”

“I could go on and on. I’ll have to write a book,” he said.

The Reading Eagle cites historians who say that even with the surge of pop-culture interest in D-Day over the past generation, ranging from movies like Saving Private Ryan to video games that strive to recreate the experience of storming the beaches of Normandy, most people do not have an accurate impression of what the landing was really like. This makes the recollections of the remaining veterans an invaluable historical resource.

“We want them to have their stories known to others,” said Berks County Department of Veterans Affairs Executive Director Dale G. Derr. “I wish I could articulate what it means when a WW II vet sits down with you.”

That opportunity will only grow more scarce in the future, as the Reading Eagle estimates that just 855,000 World War II veterans remain in the U.S., and they are departing at a rate of 800 a day.

72 years ago, Frank McCalment of South Bend, Indiana was a 22-year-old Navy gunner, who woke up from a night on the deck of the heavy cruiser USS Augusta to see a B-17 bomber burning in the sky overhead.

“We saw a lot of young fellows going in (to shore) on landing craft. I felt sorry for them,” said McCalment, quoted by the South Bend Tribune.

He spent that endless day loading hundred-pound shells into the Augusta’s 5-inch guns, as they pounded German emplacements on the French coast. “We had superior air power. The sky was almost black with Allied airplanes,” he said. “The Germans were firing back. Thank the good Lord, they never hit us.”

A point made by both D-Day veterans and historians is that D-Day was the beginning of a long and difficult struggle, whose end was nowhere in sight on the day the invasion began. McCalment recalled the Augusta providing fire support for General George Patton himself a few weeks later, when Patton needed help with some German tanks.

MemorialDay191-year-old Robert Levine of Teaneck, New Jersey was 19 when he came ashore on Utah Beach. On the far side of Hill 122, retreating Germans ambushed his unit, filled his leg with shrapnel from a grenade, and took him prisoner. Then he got hit by shrapnel from the very same American mortar shells he had been delivering to forward positions at the time of his capture.

He woke up on the kitchen table of a French farmhouse that had been pressed into service as a German field hospital.

“For you, the war is over,” said a German military doctor, as he prepared to amputate Levine’s leg. Then the doctor noticed the letter “H” stamped on the prisoner’s dog tags… identifying him as Hebrew.

“I had just turned 19, and I thought that was the end for me. I was never going to see my 20th birthday, I knew it,” he recalled.

To his astonishment, he woke up in an improvised recovery room, without his injured leg – or his dog tags. The German doctor hid the tags to conceal Levine’s identity. “That’s the second way he saved my life,” Levine said.

It took him forty years, but he eventually tracked down the doctor, after leaving his contact information at the D-Day museum in Les Perrieres, and taking up a correspondence with a former German prisoner of war whose first letter began, “Dear Robert: Do you mind a former enemy calling you ‘Dear?’”

With his new friend’s help, Levine finally found the home of the man who saved him, only to learn he had already passed away. He presented the doctor’s widow with the hand-written card he found in place of his dog tags when he woke up in that recovery room, containing vital medical information about his injuries.

93-year-old Ray Stewart of Gastonia, N.C. was a 20-year-old gunner on a tank whose crew called themselves “Hell on Wheels.” He remembered rolling into action with the 2nd Armored Division three days after the invasion began, as part of a replacement force.

“I was just like everybody else on D-Day. We didn’t know what was going on,” said Stewart, making a point that could be difficult for young people raised in the Information Age to appreciate. Frank McCalment, the USS Augusta’s gunner, noted that the crew of his ship learned something big was in the wind because the King of England came aboard for a tour, followed soon afterward by Lt. General Omar Bradley.

90-year-old Louis Palermo was part of the second wave of the Omaha Beach assault, after watching the first wave get torn to shreds by heavy German artillery and machine gun fire. He piled out of a Higgins boat, into a storm of bullets and bombs… and then spent 10 minutes wading ashore. This was followed by an hour dug into the bloody sand, while 2,500 men died around him.

“A lot of my comrades got killed. The Germans were throwing everything at us,” he recalled.

Palermo spent the next six months living in foxholes, took a shrapnel hit during the Battle of the Bulge, and was at one point declared MIA after he got separated from his unit for a week. Fortunately, his letter of reassurance that he was still alive reached his mother right after the letter from the Army that said he had been lost.

Amazingly, while he was telling his story to the LI Herald last week, Palermo’s wife of nearly sixty years, Norma, walked into the room and declared, “This is the most I’ve ever heard about it.”

“I just hope we don’t get into another war. I don’t want to see the younger generations go into combat anymore,” said Palermo.

memorial-day2arlingtonContrary to the modern fashion, he thought businesses should be shut down on Memorial Day, to observe a national moment of silence. “The heroes are the guys that got killed over there, that are buried. They sacrificed their lives,” he said.

John Provini of Connecticut recalled seeing three ships behind him taking hits, one of them blown out of the water, during landing operations… and that was two months before D-Day, when his group was training to prepare for the attack, and came under fire from the Germans.

He was nevertheless among the first troops to hit the beaches when Operation Overlord went down. “When you look up, it was sunny day, you couldn’t see the sun because of all the planes,” the Connecticut veteran told CTStyle in a Memorial Day interview.

Provini said he handles the weight of his D-Day memories by remembering, “The good outweighs the bad, and call it a day.”

90-year-old Don Carragher of St. Augustine joined the Navy at 17, hoping to serve on a battleship, but since he was color-blind, he was assigned to the Seabees. He spent six months building barges for the invasion, then volunteered for duty as a signalman during the invasion. His post gave him an incomparable view of the battle.

“The guns from our destroyers and cruisers was unbelievable, and the German bombs, the 88 mm, they were coming over like crazy. You didn’t have time to figure out what was going on. The noise was deafening. But I saw it. I saw things no 18-year-old should see,” he told the St. Augustine Record. “You see dead bodies and there’s nothing funny about it, there’s nothing clever about it, there’s nothing nice about it. It’s unbelievable what men can do to each other.”

Given a chance to come ashore and stretch his legs on the day after D-Day, Carragher said he could only handle ten minutes on the beach, because he was “a bundle of nerves” from thinking about all the men who had died there.

Charles Norman Shay, who journeyed to Normandy this year to deliver a speech despite being almost 92 years old, was a medic with the 1st U.S. Infantry Division. D-Day was his first day in combat.

“The seas were red with the blood of men who were wounded or sacrificed their lives,” he says. “It was very devastating. I had to cleanse my soul – well, not cleanse my soul, but I had to think a lot about it and push what I was experiencing out of my mind so I could function the way I was trained to function,” Shay, a Penobscot Indian, recalled to Indian Country Today.

Half his company, and seven out of nine officers, were dead or wounded by noon on June 6th, 1944. He found his friend Edward Morocewitz dying on the beach from a stomach wound. “I could not even bandage him properly,” he said. “I gave him a shot of morphine, and, well, we said goodbye to each other forever, because he died.”

He began returning to Normandy every year in 2007, to “take up contact” with the fallen, and “let them know they’re not forgotten,” with a stop at Morocewitz’s grave on every visit.

“This was one of the biggest operations in military history. And it was a success. And, well, I was perhaps happy and sad to be a part of it,” said Shay.