In the winter of 1944, 94th Infantry Medic Melvin Young found his friend Harold Pratt lying in the snow, complaining of stomach pains. Mel found an entry wound the size of a silver dollar in Harold’s hip and immediately knew what had happened and what had to be done. With German shells exploding all around, Mel knew he couldn’t get his friend to safety. And even if he could, it would be a long, painful journey that Harold would not survive. Mel gave Harold enough morphine to take the pain away and let him drift off to sleep. The two friends stayed together in the snow until Harold finally - and peacefully - passed away. —————————— #worldwar2 #worldwarii #worldwartwo #wwii #ww2 #secondworldwar #greatestgeneration #memoirsofwwii #melvinyoungwwii #ww2veteran #wwiiveteran
3 days ago
Sorry I’ve been slacking so badly on posts lately. I’m working on something, coming up in the near future that I am [and I think you will be] very excited about! ————————— But in the mean time, here is a photo of a US Air Force Veteran/WWII historian and his wife who was raised in Nazi-occupied Belgium. More of their story coming soon!
15 days ago
WWII Veteran Harry “Pete” Shaw shows me a photo of his dad, a Veteran of the First World War. The photo was taken in the early 1900’s while Harry Shaw Sr. was on a hunting expedition. —————————— Read more about Harry Jr.’s service in the Second World War here: #harryshawwwii
1 month ago
Some of the mail my Grandpa Keehn sent home from New Guinea. Notice a few of them bare the “Naval Censor” seal. During World War II, every piece of mail servicemen sent home was inspected and - if necessary - censored by the United States Military to keep from revealing information that could prove detrimental, should it fall into enemy hands. —————————— See more of his photos here: #charleskeehnwwii
1 month ago
My Grandpa Keehn’s official Navy coat. Charles Glenn Keehn served with the U.S. 91st Naval Construction Battalion on New Guinea. #worldwartwo #worldwarii #worldwar2 #secondworldwar #wwii #ww2 #greatestgeneration #memoirsofwwii #wwiiveteran #ww2veteran #navy #charleskeehnwwii
1 month ago
My wife sent me this photo. She’s on a business trip in Las Vegas and just met one of the youngest WWII Veterans (he’ll be 89 next month). —————————— Bill McGrath served with the United States Army as a tank mechanic, starting his service at 16 years old. Thank you for your service, Bill! —————————— #wwii #ww2 #worldwar2 #worldwarii #worldwartwo #secondworldwar #greatestgeneration #memoirsofwwii #tankdivision #ww2veteran #wwiiveteran
2 months ago
John and Konstantina Maria have known each other nearly their entire lives. When John deployed to Europe during the war, they had already been friends for some time. —————————— Overseas, John quickly found out that cigarettes were a commonality of wartime service. GI’s smoked regularly to calm their nerves. Cigarettes were even included in their rations and were traded among soldiers as currency. But John did not smoke. —————————— Instead, he sold every pack he was issued and saved every cent. By the end of the war he had accumulated over $300. But that was $300 he couldn’t bring home, so John bought a ring. A simple, but unique, flower-shaped ring he found in a French boutique. —————————— Not long after John came home from the war, his friendship with Konstantina Maria turned into something more. And when he asked her to marry him, nearly seventy years ago, he had just the ring to give her. —————————— Click here to read more about John: #johnkalagidiswwii
2 months ago
Ask any veteran that was in the Battle of the Bulge what it was like and they will all give you the same response: cold. Most of the American forces - especially those trapped within the German lines - were without proper winter clothing, and the winter of 1944/45 was especially harsh. —————————— John Kalagidis was one of those who endured forty days of constant combat and winter chill. Even when the Red Ball Express (an impromptu emergency supply line) brought him a winter coat and boots, it still wasn’t enough. —————————— “It was so cold. I had long johns on, and then my fatigues on, then my off-duty clothes. I had a field jacket on and then I put my overcoat on over that. And I was still freezing! I took a five gallon can of gasoline, poured it on a bush, lit it up, and put my feet in to get them warm again.” —————————— Click here to read more about John: #johnkalagidiswwii
2 months ago
John Kalagidis served in the European Theater with the U.S. Army 552nd Field Artillery. He operated a 240mm Howitzer, a large canon capable of launching an explosive shell up to distances of fifteen miles. But that didn’t always mean he was that far from the action, especially during the Battle of the Bulge. “Sometimes we’d fire from miles behind the lines. Sometimes from a few hundred feet behind the lines. That was too close.” —————————— #johnkalagidiswwii
2 months ago
The older man in this photo is Bob Latz. I never met Bob and he didn’t know me, but he was partially - maybe even totally - responsible for getting me started on this mission I am on. —————————— For many years I had it in the back of my mind that one thing I would love to do in my lifetime would be to sit down with some WWII Veterans, say thank you, and listen to their account of the war. But with no real urgency behind it, the back of my mind is where that goal stayed. —————————— Meanwhile, I would occasionally hear my good friend Josh talk about his next door neighbor, Bob. Despite there being a good 60 years between them, Josh and Bob had become good buddies, meeting frequently for lunch or just to shoot the breeze. I remember thinking how cool it was that such a genuine friendship could form between two such people. —————————— In December of 2015, Bob passed away. Understandably upset but wanting to honor the passing of his friend, Josh shared this photo of Bob and Josh’s son on social media and talked not only about how great a friend and example Bob had been, but that he was in fact a veteran of World War II, having served in the Battle of the Bulge. —————————— It was a sudden and electrifying wake up call for me. If I had put earlier action to the goal that I had been allowing to just linger in my mind, I would have had a chance to talk with - and honor - Bob. I realized then that time was running out...if I don’t do this now it will soon be too late. —————————— Since then I’ve had plenty of missed opportunities, and plenty of veterans I’ve developed friendships with only to have to say a painful goodbye when they’ve passed. But I wouldn’t trade it. I’ve also had plenty of life-changing conversations, and plenty firsthand stories told to me that make the history I’ve read about come alive. When they tell you things like “I’ve never been able to talk to anyone about this” or “It means the world to know that there are people that remember us”, I don’t know if there is any better reward. [continued in comments]
2 months ago
In June of 2016, Harry “Pete” Shaw’s son, Skip, invited his dad to a concert: the Cleveland, OH Pops Orchestra’s Armed Forces Salute. Skip figured his father would like to listen to some patriotic tunes, but Pete declined. Skip became increasingly and oddly persistent, repeatedly asking his dad to go with him to the concert until Pete - probably just to quiet his son - reluctantly obliged. —————————— Father and son attended the concert, Pete mildly enjoying the event. Then, midway through the concert, the emcee announced from the stage that they had a very special guest in their midst and they would like to take a moment to honor him. Skip’s invitation had not been without hidden motive. —————————— “The man said, ‘Would Harry Shaw please stand? We’d like to honor you for your service.’ They read off all my medals and people stood and applauded. There was over 1,000 people there, cheering and waving flags. After the program was over there was a receiving line for me that lasted over 45 minutes! The aisles were lined with people that wanted to shake my hand. It was touching to get the ovation and the orchestra salute. I think I cried half the way home.” —————————— To read more about Pete Shaw, click here: #harryshawwwii
2 months ago
I just received word that my friend Bill Johnson passed away at 93 years old. Bill served with the United States Marines in World War II - seeing combat in the Pacific Theater at Saipan and Okinawa - as well as the Korean War. —————————— Bill was friendly and soft spoken, but through his stories and his sense of humor you could detect a streak of mischief. And he spoke of his military service like many of these wonderful veterans do: like it was no act of heroism, but simply what needed to be done. But to those who knew him, he was a hero. —————————— This past summer, Bill got to tour Washington D.C. with Honor Flight Cleveland - with a brand new Marine uniform, no less! He wore his uniform all through the day in the hot sun, wide eyed and excited to take in his special day. —————————— I was honored to be invited to Bill’s 93rd birthday party. My kids were excited to meet him, especially my three year old daughter. They became buddies quickly, despite the ninety year difference. We will miss you Bill. Thank you for your service. We won’t forget. —————————— Click here to read more about Bill: #billjohnsonwwii
3 months ago
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