In a field just south of Wardin, Belgium, on Jan 4, 2000, I spread some dirt from his home at the place where he died in 1945, and I gathered some dirt from there to take back to Danville. Then, where he lived will be connected to where he died and where he rests.
I want them to be connected. Also on this bittersweet day, the mayors of Bastogne, Belgium, and Contern, Luxembourg, held receptions, read proclamations in honor of my father, and gave me souvenirs of their cities. I was overwhelmed.My father died from a severe head wound on a bitterly cold, snowy day during a German counterattack, preceded by a devastating artillery barrage. The Germans did not break through but the cost was dear. Company B suffered its greatest one-day losses ever: thirteen men were killed, 12 were wounded, and 16 went missing. Freedom is not free.
A member of The Greatest Generation, my father died in the greatest battle ever fought by the United States Army, in the bloodiest war in history. He helped defeat the determined and powerful army of a surpassingly evil regime.
I salute you, Dad. May God bless you. Rest in peace. We will meet again.