June 10, 2014 10:48:15 AM
Memories of WWII
"D-Day and 70 years" on the front page graphically depicts the patriotism of The Dispatch. The picture of the Normandy Landing of Company E, 16th. Infantry Regiment, 1st. Infantry Division, (Big Red One) on the heavily fortified Omaha Beach in Normandy, France on June 6,1944, stirred memories I tried long to forget, with little success. While I did not make the Omaha Beach landing, I was a green kid who joined the K Company, 18th Regiment, 1st. Infantry Division on Dec. 16, 1944, as an infantry replacement.
On the first day in the Ardennes, eight to 10 German jeeps with trailers, loaded with the bodies of our soldiers, frozen, covered with snow and as stiff as planks. Most of them were just out of high school. They had been captured near Liege, Belgium, and totally against the Geneva Convention or any other civilized rules of war, were stood up and executed in cold blood. They were hauled off like so much cord wood ... and known as the Malmedy Massacre ... because that's what it was, with no respect for human life.
For the first time, I realized this was not a John Wayne movie, it was a war of death and destruction. What a tragic waste of so many young boys, who never knew what they could become or what families they might have or live to see the technological and political changes in their world. What a terrible scenario for those and the ones who are still out there in wars that are not wars. Let's pray for these soldiers and their families and pray that there will never be more futile blood shed such as there was then. Let us instead remember the bravery and courage exhibited by those who fought hard for our country and our way of life. We owe them a great debt. Let us never forget!
The article by Ernie Pyle was phenomenal and we appreciate The Dispatch for publishing it.