Memorial day, here in America, is a solemn and somber day in America in which people from around the country can stop, remember, and thank the men and women who have fought and have given parts of their lives for our freedom.
It was once said that Freedom is a lot like oxygen: when you have it, nobody notices it…but go without it, and, wow, do you wish you had it!! It is SO true!
Even though I have celebrated Memorial Day every year since I was a kid, I was wondering the other day…what is the truth and facts behind this hallowed day? In today’s blog, I decided to find out and then, let you know by sharing my findings with you!
Memorial Day originally started during the Civil War.
Memorial Day used to be known as Decoration Day and was meant to honor both the Union and Confederate men who lost their lives during the Civil War. By the 1900’s it became a day to celebrate and remember all of the soldiers who died in the military.
One of the earliest ceremonies honoring the fallen was organized by freed slaves!
Memorial Day actually didn’t become an official federal holiday until 1971.
In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson named Waterloo, New York, as the official birthplace of Memorial Day.
According to custom, the American flag is to fly at half staff until noon, and then raise it to full staff until sunset.
In 1915, a Georgian school teacher named, Moina Michael, began a movement to make the Red Poppy the national symbol of tribute to veterans and for “keeping the faith with all who died.” The idea of wearing Red Poppies originated from a poem written in 1915, by John McCrae, “In Flanders Field.”
It is common for volunteers to place American flags on the graves in the national cemeteries.
It has been estimated that 30-35 million people travel by car over the Memorial Day Weekend.
How many of us have ever known someone that we really didn’t like? They were someone that we considered our rival, our opponent, our enemy. If we were given the chance, we would “take care of them”, hurt or destroy them. But how many of us have ever been in a situation that we could actually take take out our hate and anger on our enemy…then decided to show mercy and take the honorable thing…take the high road and help them?
Today’s tale is a true story that took place during World War 2 in the skies over Europe. It is my hope that you can learn a simple lesson today…that having compassion and mercy for our enemies actually takes more boldness and courage than to take revenge.
Charlie Brown was a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot with the 379th Bomber Group at Kimbolton, England. His B-17 was called “Ye Old Pub” and was in a terrible state, having been hit by flak and fighters. The compass was damaged and they were flying deeper and deeper into enemy territory instead of heading home to Kimbolton.
After flying the B-17 over an enemy airfield, a German pilot, Franz Steigler was ordered to take off and shoot down the B-17.
When he got closer the B-17, he could not believe his eyes. In his words, he “had never seen a plane in such a bad state”. The tail and rear section was severely damaged, the tail gunner was wounded and the top gunner was all over the top of the fuselage. The nose of the plane was smashed and there were holes everywhere.
Despite having ammunition, Franz flew to the side of the B-17 and looked at the English pilot, Charlie Brown, and saw that Brown was scared and struggling to control his damaged and blood-stained plane.
Aware that they had no idea where they were going, Franz waved at Charlie to turn around 180 degrees. Franz escorted and guided the stricken plane back to the North Sea and to England. He then saluted Charlie Brown, turned away and headed back towards Europe.
When Franz landed he told his commanding officer that he had shot down the B-17 over the sea, and never told the truth to anyone.
Meanwhile, back in England, Charlie Brown and the remains of his crew told everyone at their briefing what had happened, but were then ordered never to talk about it.
More than 40 years later, Charlie Brown wanted to find the German Luftwaffe pilot who had saved his crew. After years of research, Franz was finally found. He had never talked about the incident, not even at post-war reunions. The two pilots met in America at the 379th Bomber Group reunion…together with 25 people who are now alive…all because Franz showed mercy and compassion and never fired his guns that day.
When asked why he didn’t shoot them down, Stigler later said, “I didn’t have the heart to finish off those brave men. I flew beside them for a long time. They were desperately trying to get home and I was going to let them do that. I could not have shot at them. It would have been the same as shooting a man in a parachute.”
“Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.” ~ Dalai Lama
AFTER FLIGHT 77 hit the Pentagon on 9/11, the following incident occurred:
A chaplain, who happened to be assigned to the Pentagon, told of an incident that never made the news. A daycare facility inside the Pentagon had many children, including infants who were in heavy cribs. The daycare supervisor, looking at all the children they needed to evacuate, was in a panic over what they could do. There were many children, mostly toddlers, as well as the infants that would need to be taken out with the cribs.
There was no time to try to bundle them into carriers and strollers. Just then a young Marine came running into the center and asked what they needed. After hearing what the center director was trying to do, he ran back out into the hallway and disappeared. The director thought, “Well, here we are, on our own.”
About 2 minutes later, that Marine returned with 40 other Marines in tow. Each of them grabbed a crib with a child, and the rest started gathering up toddlers. The director and her staff then helped them take all the children out of the center and down toward the park near the Potomac River.
Once they got about 3/4 of a mile outside the building, the Marines stopped in the park, and then did a fabulous thing – they formed a circle with the cribs, which were quite sturdy and heavy, like the covered wagons in the Old West. Inside this circle of cribs, they put the toddlers, to keep them from wandering off. Outside this circle were the 40 Marines, forming a perimeter around the children and waiting for instructions. There they remained until the parents could be notified and come get their children.
The chaplain then said, “I don’t think any of us saw nor heard of this on any of the news stories of the day. It was an incredible story of our men there.” There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. The thought of those Marines and what they did and how fast they reacted; could we expect any less from them? It was one of the most touching stories from the Pentagon.
It’s the Military, not the politicians that ensures our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s the Military who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag. If you care to offer the smallest token of recognition and appreciation for the military, please pass this on and pray for our men and women, who have served and are currently serving our country, and pray for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.
I recently read an article written by Kim Willsher on TheGuardian,com in which she told many stories of servicemen that participated in D-Day and World War 2. I thought that it would be a great share with all of you. I hope that you would take the time to remember these people and the things that they experienced during this awful time of war.
They stood to attention as straight as their creaking backs would allow and saluted briskly as a lone bugler high up on the old Pegasus Bridge played the Last Post. A minute’s silence followed; the men bowed their heads, dabbed their eyes and remembered the fallen.
Some made one last heroic effort to rise from their wheelchairs, others leaned on sticks or the arms of relatives and friends. Medals glinted in the morning sunshine; rows and rows of them, pinned to still-proud chests.
It may be 70 years on, but the camaraderie remains strong. The old soldiers addressed each other as “brother” and with a valiant slap on the back, as if seven decades had not passed. There were shared nods of recognition between veterans in black and wine-coloured berets, and serving military officers who share the common bond of conflict. Schoolchildren who were hearing about history first hand were hanging on every word.
“One of the reasons it’s wonderful to be here is because everyone is interested in you,” said Neville Foote, 94. “Back home, nobody is interested in us. We’re just old people. I am sometimes asked to go to schools to talk, but the children don’t know about the war and don’t want to know.”
Foote, from Tottington in Lancashire, has no shortage of stories to tell. He arrived in Normandy on D-day on Juno beach with the 51st Highland Division of the Scottish Horse Regiment and spent the rest of the war moving across Europe. He was with the Allied forces that relieved the Bergen-Belsen Nazi concentration camp in 1945.
Foote was just 23 when he jumped off the landing craft along with Canadian troops from the North Nova Scotia Highlanders and ran on to the French beach “at tea time … don’t ask when that was because we didn’t knowwhat day it was let alone the time,” he says.
“I remember every detail of the landing even now. It was a terrifying experience,” he adds. “We just kept moving. It was the same after D-day, we kept moving across Europe fighting all the way.”
At one point crossing the Rhine, the troop carrier Foote was in hit a mine, killing the man sitting next to him. The survivors had to scoop up the dead man’s remains and carry on. It is hardly surprising that for many decades, the men who returned from D-day and the battle to liberate France, did not talk about their experiences.
“So many were lost. I’m fine about coming back, but certain parts are hard. When you go to the graves and see your mates, just 22 or 23 who never made it, you just feel it here,” as he taps his chest, his eyes fill with tears.
“Still, I like to think I made up for them in life.”
The taking of the bridge in the village of Bénouville, and a second bridge in nearby Ranville, was the first operation of D-day. Troops of the 6th Airborne Parachute Regiment, led by Major John Howard of the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry, landed at 00.16am in six Horsa gliders and neutralised the two bridges held by German forces in ten minutes, with the loss of only two lives.
Operation Deadstick, as it was known, was the start of the Longest Day. Howard, who died in 1999 aged 86, was later played by actor Richard Todd – himself a D-day parachute veteran – in the Hollywood film of the Allied landings. Howard received a Distinguished Service Order and a Croix de Guerre.
On Thursday, Howard’s daughter Penny Bates laid a wreath at Bénouville, where plaques, monuments, a large sculpture the Avenue de Major Howard, are testimony to the heroism of him and his men.
“I’m here to remember my father and his men and I’m very proud to pay my respects. I have come back here many, many times and it is always an honor and always very emotional and moving. Of course to me he was a hero, but then he was my father.”
Joan Woods, whose husband Lt Corp Tom Packwood was in the same glider as Howard, buried her husband’s ashes near Pegasus Bridge after he died eight years ago. “Whenever we traveled on the continent, he always insisted on coming here to pay tribute to friends buried there. He never talked about what happened until the 40th anniversary when he met other veterans here. Only then did he tell me what happened.
“Of course, by then they all had different versions of what had happened because so many years had passed, so they couldn’t agree.”
She added: “Pegasus Bridge defined his life, but like many of the men, my husband’s attitude was that they were trained to do a job and they just got on and did it well.”
After a renovated Centaur tank, found near Pegasus Bridge and one of only five remaining, was inaugurated, the Last Post, Reveille and the Canadian, British and French national anthems were played. Veterans cheered as a dozen second world war planes, including an old Lancaster bomber, flew past.
A group of 12-year-old French schoolchildren from nearby Troarn – which was heavily bombed by the Allies and liberated more than two months after D-day – wore red T-shirts saying: “I am a Child of Freedom. Merci Dear Veteran.”
The youngsters clustered around the old soldiers, listening to their stories and asking questions. Their teacher Jean-Pascal Auvray said: “We brought them here so they can be witnesses to this later. Today they are 12 years old, but when they have their own children and grandchildren, they will remember coming here and meeting the veterans. They will have a direct line with the history.”
Testimonies from Pegasus Bridge
Walter James Baker, 92, from Blackpool
Baker landed on Omaha beach with the Canadian Régiment de la Chaudiere – the only French-Canadian regiment to participate in Operation Overlord. He helped to train the 1st American Infantry Division.
“You just did what you had to do. You didn’t stop to think about being brave, because you were so bloody terrified. I was with boys who were 17, but who would never see their 18th birthday. They were the brave ones, not me. I was older, I learned my bravery from them. They faced the machine guns and opened their shirts. We owe a lot to them.
Sgt Steve Garrard, 91, from Bude, Cornwall, glider pilot
“It’s the first time I have come back. It means a hell of a lot to do this. It’s still very vivid even though many years have passed. I have forgotten many things in between, but not here. The whole D-day operation was so climatic. It was my birthday on June 7th, and I spent it fighting Germans.”
Joe Bruhl, 36, from Missouri
Based with the US army in Italy, Bruhl has served in Africa and Afghanistan.
“I wanted to come here just to talk to these guys, hear the stories of those who were here, who took part in the operation. It is probably the most humbling experience of my life. My grandfather was in the navy in command and control on D-day off Omaha beach and my great uncle was wounded on Utah beach, so there is a family interest.”
John Dennett, 89, from Wallasey, Liverpool
Dennet, a sailor on landing craft depositing troops on Sword Beach, said: “We went back and forth ferrying men onto the beach. The most amazing thing was the sheer volume of ships and boats. You couldn’t see the water there were so many. I have come back to remember them. I was 19 at the time. I go to the cemeteries and see the graves of the 19 and 20-year-olds and I think, that could have been me. You have to remember, the young have to remember. That’s why I visit schools.”
Titus Mills, headmaster of Walhampton School in the New Forest
Mills was at Pegasus Bridge with his son Raffi, 10, carrying a placard saying: “The Young Are Grateful”. “I hardly have the words necessary to explain why it’s important for children to know about this. This is probably the final year the men will come back and I feel it’s enormously important for the younger generation to be able to connect with this period of history and appreciate what these fine old men and women went through. They are living history.”
Raffi said: “It’s really interesting listening to the stories of the war and definitely better than reading it in history books.”
Robert Sullivan, 91, of 3 Para Squadron
Sullivan parachuted into France at 1.30am on the morning of the 6th. His unit had instructions to blow up a bridge at Dives. “Like many others, I missed the landing area. Fortunately I landed. Many of the others drowned. We had to make our way to the bridge. I got there at 9am and it had been partially destroyed, but not completely. So we blew it up. Then we came under heavy fire from the Germans. Coming back, I think that unlike my colleagues, I had the chance to live my life, have my family, and they did not. That’s the main thing I think.”
This year, June 6, 2014, marks the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. The site, http://www.army.mil/d-day explains D-Day in a short but descriptive way: “On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in Continental Europe. The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 Soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe, to defeat Adolph Hitler’s crack troops.”
World War 2 and D-Day has always been intriguing to me, so I decided to look around the web and collect some interesting and fascinating details about this historic day. In the list below, next to each fact that I posted, I listed the name of the website in which I found the specific fact. So, without further ado, here we go…
The largest seaborne invasion in history – CNN
The invasion’s secret code name was Operation Overlord. – CNN
Condoms were issued to soldiers – most were used for covering the end of their rifles to keep them dry. – Express.co.uk
Although June 6 is often called D-Day, D-Day is also a generic military term that stands for the day, D, of any major attack. – Ducksters.com
The overall military operation was called “Operation Overlord”. The actual landings at Normandy were called “Operation Neptune” – Ducksters.com
The Allies created a ruse to convince the Germans that the invasion would take place at Pas de Calais instead of the Cotentin Peninsula. According to the U.S. Army, a dummy base was constructed out of plywood, and inflatable tanks were placed to create the illusion of a massive army division. – NewsYahoo.com
The invasion location was cloaked in secrecy and rumors. Allied leaders were constantly trying – soldiers knew the exact date, time, and location of the attack until the last minute. All training maps for troops had false names to keep the secret intact. – Warhistoryonline.com
The main reason for the secrecy was that the Germans had 55 divisions stationed in France, and the Allies could only bring in about eight divisions to attack on D-Day. – Warhistoryonline.com
Famous German General, Field Marshall Rommel, was nowhere near France on June 6. He was celebrating his wife’s birthday in Germany during the invasion. – NewsYahoo.com
There were 6,939 naval ships deployed, holding 195,000 sailors. – Warhistoryonline.com
The flat-bottomed landing craft were originally designed to rescue flood victims on the Mississippi river in the US. – Express.co.uk
The first two British soldiers that were killed on D-Day were Lt. Den Brotheridge of the 6th Airborne Division and Lance Corporal Fred Greehalgh. Brotheridge was shot in the neck while leading his platoon, and Greehalgh immediately drowned when he stepped out of Brotheridge’s glider. – Warhistoryonline.com
The first U.S. soldier that died on D-Day was twenty-eight year old Lt. Robert Mathias of the 82nd Airborne Division. He sustained a bullet wound in the chest right before he jumped out of his aircraft. He commanded his men to follow his lead as he jumped from the plane and died mid-air. – Warhistoryonline.com
The operation was the largest amphibious invasion in world history, with over 160,000 troops landing on 6 June 1944 – and 195,700 Allied naval and merchant navy personnel in over 5,000 ships were involved. – .Dailymail.co.uk
The landings took place along a 50-mile (80 km) stretch of the Normandy coast divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. – Dailymail.co.uk
Approximately 10,000 allies were injured or killed. – Dailymail.co.uk
Between 4,000 and 9,000 German troops were killed – and it proved the pivotal moment of the war, in the allied forces’ favor. – Dailymail.co.uk
Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was asleep when word of the invasion arrived. No one dared wake him and it’s said vital time was lost in sending reinforcements. – Express.co.uk
Let’s take some time during this time of year to thank our veterans for their honor, bravery and the sacrifices that they gave for the freedoms that we enjoy each day.
It has always fascinated me how many people have sacrificed their lives or the quality of their life for the freedom that all Americans enjoy every day. I can’t imagine the impact that these misfortunes have on not only the soldiers, but the lives of their families and friends.
I always take the time each Memorial Day to think of the soldiers and the freedom that we have and say a little prayer for all of those who are in harm’s way today.
Unfortunately, I am embarrassed and sorry to say, that I don’t think many people REALLY are grateful for the many things that they take pleasure in because of what our soldiers and veterans have sacrificed. It is for that reason that I decided to post some statistics of all of the wars that America has fought. I have found the following information on the “Department of Foreign Affairs” website called “America’s Wars.”
It is my hope that these stats will open your eyes and give you a clearer picture of exactly how much has been sacrificed for this country during the past 200 years or so.
American Revolution (1775-1783)
Total U.S. Service members (1) 217,000
Battle Deaths 4,435
Non-mortal Woundings 6,188
War of 1812 (1812-1815)
Total U.S. Service members 286,730
Battle Deaths 2,260
Non-mortal Woundings 4,505
Indian Wars (approx. 1817-1898)
Total U.S. Service members (VA estimate) 106,000
Battle Deaths (VA estimate) 1,000
Mexican War (1846-1848)
Total U.S. Service members 78,718
Battle Deaths 1,733
Other Deaths (In Theater) 11,550
Non-mortal Woundings 4,152
Civil War (1861-1865)
Total U.S. Service members (Union) 2,213,363
Battle Deaths (Union) 140,414
Other Deaths (In Theater) (Union) 224,097
Non-mortal Woundings (Union) 281,881
Total Service members (Conf.) (2) 1,050,000
Battle Deaths (Confederate) (3) 74,524
Other Deaths (In Theater) (Confederate) (3), (4) 59,297
Non-mortal Woundings (Confederate) Unknown
Spanish-American War (1898-1902)
Total U.S. Service members (Worldwide) 306,760
Battle Deaths 385
Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater) 2,061
Non-mortal Woundings 1,662
World War I (1917-1918)
Total U.S. Service members (Worldwide) 4,734,991
Battle Deaths 53,402
Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater) 63,114
Non-mortal Woundings 204,002
Living Veterans 0
World War II (1941 –1945)
Total U.S. Service members (Worldwide) 16,112,566
Battle Deaths 291,557
Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater) 113,842
Non-mortal Woundings 670,846
Living Veterans (5) 1,711,000
Korean War (1950-1953)
Total U.S. Service members (Worldwide) 5,720,000
Total Serving (In Theater) 1,789,000
Battle Deaths 33,739
Other Deaths (In Theater) 2,835
Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater) 17,672
Non-mortal Woundings 103,284
Living Veterans 2,275,000
Vietnam War (1964-1975)
Total U.S. Service members (Worldwide) (6) 8,744,000
Deployed to Southeast Asia (7) 3,403,000
Battle Deaths (8) 47,434
Other Deaths (In Theater) (8) 10,786
Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater) (8) 32,000
Non-mortal Woundings (9) 153,303
Living Veterans 5, 10 7,391,000
Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1990-1991)
Total U.S. Service members (Worldwide) 2,322,000
Deployed to Gulf 694,550
Battle Deaths 148
Other Deaths (In Theater) 235
Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater) 1,565
Non-mortal Woundings 467
Living Veterans 5, 10 2,244,583
America’s Wars Total (1775 -1991)
U.S. Military Service during Wartime 41,892,128
Battle Deaths 651,031
Other Deaths (In Theater) 308,800
Other Deaths in Service (Non-Theater) 230,279
Non-mortal Woundings 1,431,290
Living War Veterans11 16,962,000
Living Veterans (Periods of War & Peace) 23,234,000
This is a picture the military has never let anyone see until now.
This is a picture behind the scenes at Dover Air Force Base where the bodies of fallen soldiers are prepared for burial.
And that includes being properly dressed, all the way down to the smallest detail.
In this picture Staff Sgt. Miguel Deynes is making sure the uniform is just right for an army pilot recently killed in Afghanistan.
There is a very specific process once a fallen soldier is returned home.
The bodies are flown back to the U.S. on a cargo jet.
A team of service members wearing white gloves carries the coffins, covered with flags, to a white van that takes them to the Armed Forces Medical Examiner.
The remains are washed, the hands are scrubbed clean, and the hair is shampooed. If necessary bones are wired together and damaged tissue is reconstructed with flesh-toned wax.
Sometimes they will use photos, sometimes just intuition to recreate the wrinkles in faces, and the lines around the mouth or the corner of the eyes.
“It has to look normal, like someone who is sleeping.”
Once the body is ready then the uniform is prepared.
That includes putting medals in the proper order on the ribbon rack above the jacket’s breast pocket.
During the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan 10 to 20 bodies were arriving every day.
The embalmers often worked all night to get the bodies home on time. That can take an emotional toll so the mortuary has a large gym so workers can blow off steam.
Many say they are haunted by how young the fallen soldiers are, and by how many of them leave behind small children.
That’s why Sgt. Deynes says they are advised not to do research into the backgrounds of the soldiers.
“If I knew the story of every individual who went through here, I would probably be in a padded cell.”
The dress uniform being prepared in this particular case will be in a closed casket.
Even so, it will be perfectly tailored, starched and pressed. Everything will be checked down to the last detail.
Sgt. Deynes says, “They’re (the family) not going to see it. I do it for myself. It’s more than an honor it’s a blessing to dress that soldier for the last time.”
Starlia Dawson, widow of Army Sgt. Ezra Dawson, 31, of Las Vegas, weeps during his funeral at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009. Dawson, a member of 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Div., from Fort Hood, Texas, was killed last month in Afghanistan in an accidental Chinook helicopter crash. The woman at the right, comforting Ms. Dawson, is unidentified.
Veteran’s day has come and has past but that doesn’t mean that we should ever forget what our young men and women have fought, sacrificed, and gave parts of their lives for. Today, I came across this really interesting article on huffingtonpost.com that presented us with some fascinating and strange stories of service men and women during their time in the military. The stories were collected by Ripley’s Believe It or Not. These are simply AMAZING stories!!
Some of the stranger stories that deserve to be retold:
In 1943, Master Sgt. John Hassebrock of Buffalo Center, Iowa, received a three-day pass to marry a WAC Corporal before he went overseas. They lost track of each other until one night in France, he made a convoy to the front lines and went to a farmhouse to spend the night. There he unexpectedly ran into his wife — on the exact day and hour of their wedding one year earlier.
During World War II, Gunner’s Mate Allen C. Heyn was saved three times in three minutes by his equipment. When his boat, the Juneau, was sunk by a Japanese submarine, his life was saved by his helmet, which was crushed and his skull fractured. Two minutes later, he sank with the ship, but his life jacket brought him up to the surface, where he was saved by a raft. He was the only survivor of the 12 men on that raft.
Private Leo Carrara of the Sixth Armored Division was truly the indestructible man. A German bomb destroyed his half-track and killed 12 men and only Pvt. Carrara escaped, although he was badly wounded. His sergeant tried to save him and was killed, his lieutenant tried to save him and was killed and his litter bearer tried to save him and was killed.
Lt. Commander Robert W. Goehring, aboard the Coast Guard Cutter U.S.S. Duane, was swept off his ship by a mountainous wave during a storm. The ship was turned around to rescue Goehring when suddenly another giant wave tossed him back on board to safety.
Joe Frank Jones of the Eighth Army Air Force fell 13,000 feet and suffered no broken bones. Returning from his 22nd mission over Germany in a Fortress, he collided in mid-air and fell 13,000 feet in the severed tail section of his plane — without serious injury and no broken bones.
During the Korean War, Lt. Fred J. Fees, Jr. continued to direct air strikes after he had been shot through the head.
Also during the Korean War: Walter J. Alliman carried an 1855 penny that brought good fortune to fighting men in 5 previous wars.
James Ward of La Grange, N.C., enlisted in the Army at 14, served two years, including five months in combat in Korea, and was made a sergeant. Then he was discovered and was discharged for being underage.
U.S. Infantryman Donald Morehouse was shot through the chest while fighting in the Korean War. Still, he walked 35 miles to safety — and only discovered later that the bullet had gone through his heart.
Bob Weiland, who lost both legs in 1969 in Vietnam to a land mine while trying to save a fellow soldier, “walked” 2,000 miles from California to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 1986 — propelling himself on his padded knuckles.
Pvt. William Parker, a soldier in the U.S. Army fighting in Vietnam, survived after a shot to his head was deflected by the bible he kept underneath his helmet.
Pfc. Billy Campbell of the 101st Airborne Division serving in Vietnam, survived being shot in the chest when the bullet deflected off a spoon he was carrying in his breast pocket.
During the Vietnam War, American soldiers tossed “Slinky” toys over tree branches to serve as radio antennas.
Wayne Reymar of Alberta, Canada, had two pieces of shrapnel removed from his chest 32 years after he was wounded during the Vietnam War.
While fighting in Afghanistan, U.S. Army Pvt. Channing Moss survived a body hit from an anti-vehicular rocket when the explosive head broke off just before he was impaled by the rocket shaft.
U.S. soldiers in Iraq use a child’s toy, Silly String, to detect tripwire-activated traps.
Jim Dillinger, a 45-year-old retired soldier from Mount Orab, Ohio, spent a year-long tour of duty in Iraq as a combat engineer — due to a clerical error.
For the help he provided to residents of Iraq, the locals have made U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Dale Horn an honorary Sheik.
Take the time EVERY day to thank a soldier or a veteran for everything that they have done for our country!