June 6, 1944 and My Papa

Many words will be spoken and written about this day. Mine will be brief and personal. My papa was part of the Normandy Invasion. Years later, he barely spoke of all that transpired and that happened to a soft spoken country boy who lied about his age and volunteered for duty. He was 16 but claimed to be 18. Papa’s band of brothers all had names for each other. His was “Country” but not “Country” in a down-putting way. It was a tribute to his slow, Southern speech, his generous heart, and his stubbornness and will to survive. I wrote about some of this in my post when I accepted the Inner Peace award in his memory (http://kanzensakura.com/2013/06/15/inner-peace-award).

He was a sharpshooter. A mild title for a brutal job. The few of his buddies who were able to come to his funeral spoke of him and how his ability often saved their lives, how his sweet smile and prankish behavior saved their souls by making them laugh and forget the hell around them, if only for a moment.

The picture of him (handsome guy on the left) was taken on his 21st birthday in Paris. His two best buddies in the picture with him, died within the next two weeks. We are rapidly losing this Greatest Generation as age and time takes its toll. We have much to thank them for. When we honor our vets, don’t forget to include these men and women in those ceremonies. I have much to be thankful for, but on a personal level. I always think of my papa and am thankful I am his daughter. I have been told I look like him. I’d like to hope I am also share some of the traits that made him such a loving and loveable person. To the Greatest Generation – thank you and God bless you.


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