D-Day Normandy- 70 Years Later | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

I posted this on Memorial Day at the bottom of a review.
Since my father was an Army corporal who landed at Normandy on Day 1, I thought I would memorialize him by repeating the story in its own post.

I come from a small family. No brothers. No uncles. No cousins. And I am only second generation in this country.

So the only person I can pay homage to is my late father. He passed away at age 80 in 2003.

He was an Army corporal. He landed at Normandy on D-Day 1.
He also spent two years in France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany.
When I was young, my father told me stories of WWII. I was enthralled.
Of course, he hid the horrors he experienced, or saw, from my tender ears.

As I got older, he began to tell me more. He seemed to be ashamed of himself in some of those stories. Things he did and took part in. Things that always happen in a war on the ground.

My dad was wounded and sent home. He got shot in the chest by a .50 cal machine gun from a German nest that his group stormed. He was very lucky to have survived. It went clear through; very close to his heart and missed every vital organ and artery.

My father received the Bronze Star with 2 clusters. And he received the Purple Heart.

As a young boy, I became cognizant of the bullet hole in his chest. The one in front was small. But his back was a mess. A huge map of scar tissue. I remember asking him if it hurt and he would only shake his head no.

As the years turned into our involvement in Viet Nam, my dad shut up. He no longer wanted to tell any type of war story. My dad was a Republican. Voted for Nixon which shocked me…me, the child of the 60’s.

But he hated war. He knew from experience that this “Viet Nam thing” was not an honorable war. This wasn’t a fascist despot taking over a continent by force and violence. This was not an honorable war cooked up by evil politicians. He was very vocal about this.

He never talked about his medals. Never. But he liked to talk about the bullet that nearly killed him and how his son lost it forever.
I was around 4 years old, got into a drawer in his dresser, and found the bullet.
I played with it, got bored and no one knows what happened after that, except it was gone.
For 54 years, my father told everyone that would listen how his only son lost his bullet.

My father refused to watch WWII movies. When “Saving Private Ryan” came out, he refused to watch it. I didn’t get it until then. Private Ryan was probably the most realistic movie about war made in his lifetime.
When I tried to talk to him about it, he would say nothing. So I let it go.

It was then that I realized how deeply the war affected him. It was no longer funny stories about crazy things that happened on that journey. He never spoke about the war again.

I always knew my father was a hero.
And so is every American that served or still serves.
He managed to survive one of the most brutal frontal attacks in American history.
I can only imagine the nightmares that brave man had.



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1 reply

  1. i often wonder if it is even possible to show the proper respect and gratitude to honor those that served and continue to serve.
    It’s good that you are proud of your father serving in the last honorable war.(If there can be such a thing.) One that was actually necessary to halt something truly evil. My father served in the “forgotten ” war. The Korean.
    A few years after his death in 1991, at the too young age of 62, they erected a memorial to all the local young men who served in that farce. My reaction then was, ” It,s about ‘effin time, you thankless putzes!”
    Dad was a soft spoken man who never once raised his voice or hand to us kids. Had to pry anything about the war out of him.
    Hated the tv show MASH. Said the only things they got right were the displaced locals, the families torn apart, the kids who came around begging for the basics of life.
    Gave gallons of blood to the VA hospital, and had the pins to prove it.
    Was a lifetime member of the VFW, where I often accompanied him to assist in whatever current event was helping to keep the place open, barely. I didn’t go to bask in “glorious” stories of war, (which were rarely spoken or heard) but to be with dad and enjoy the heartfelt camaraderie of these simple, honorable men. To even at a young age, be moved by the deep, solemn respect they displayed when honoring fallen brethren.
    I suspect that given a choice at the time, dad would have chosen not to serve, but serve he did and spent the rest of his life being proud of having been part of something that brought good men together with purpose. So much so, that he choose to be buried at Fort Snelling rather than the family plot.
    It will forever sadden my heart that our daughter who was barely 2 at the time of his death, never got to know one of the most thoughtful, caring, and honorable men to ever walk this earth.
    Excuse my rambling, but sometimes one is moved to make a story heard, if for no other reason, than to make sure that deserving people are honored and not forgotten.