5 thoughts on “For Memorial Day”

  1. The first national cemetery I visited was in the Army – 1973 – at Luxembourg City. I walked up the Rue General Patton and there it was – thousands of graves in immaculate surroundings – with Gen Patton’s at the front facing his men.

    Most were killed in the Ardennes Offensive aka the Battle of the Bulge.

    Some said – succinctly and eloquently – that today is for the veterans who can’t be here to celebrate.

  2. “Most were killed in the Ardennes Offensive aka the Battle of the Bulge.”

    My cousin, Art Burns, was in the battle at the southeast “shoulder” of the Bulge. He was in Alexander Patch’s 7th Army which landed in southern France and advanced up the east side of France to meet Patton just before the Ardennes offensive.

    During the Battle of the Bulge, the Seventh Army extended its flanks to take over much of the US Third Army area, which allowed the Third to relieve surrounded US forces at Bastogne. Along with the French First Army, the Seventh went on the offensive in February of 1945 and eliminated the enemy pocket in the Colmar area.

    Art had frostbite in his feet from that battle and they still hurt. He is now in a nursing home but has survived a number of illnesses and lived alone until this year. His wife, my cousin, died about 25 years ago. Art is a great guy, even though he is a loyal Chicago Democrat. When I was in high school, Art and I had many long political, and other, discussions. He was very patient and interesting for a 14 year old to talk to. When I was a kid, I was always more comfortable with adults.

    Yesterday, I went to the 95th birthday party for the surgeon I first joined in practice. He landed on Iwo Jima with the 3rd Marine Division as a young Navy doctor.

  3. I just watched the Oliver North War Story about Ewo Jima this morning. That was total war and as hard fought as any battle in WWII. 25,000 casualties in 36 days of fighting. Winning and occupying it set the stage for the bombing of Japan and eventual victory.

    Your surgeon friend is one of the fortunate ones. What a long and undoubtedly well-lived life.

    Today is the day I honor the memory of 14 squadron mates and Naval Air friends who gave their all during Vietnam. In my mind and heart they are still young and courageous.

  4. I am sure you all have read Flags of our Fathers – if you haven’t it describes Iwo very well. As tough as the ETO was in the Pacific I think it was understood kill or be killed.

    Very few prisoners.

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