WWII'S GREATEST BATTLE
OPERATION OVERLORD / D-DAY WAS 70 YEARS AGO TODAY
I used to treat hundreds of WWII Vets. Now I treat just a handful (HERE & HERE). There is good reason that these men are known as our "Greatest Generation". Not only did America's sons and fathers save Europe from Hitler and his totalitarian regime, they saved a huge portion of it from Communist Russia as well (unfortunately, part of Europe did become Eastern Bloc and ended up behind the Iron Curtain). Even though a post-Stalingrad Red Army would have eventually defeated the Germans without us, the fact that we opened up a second front in the West prevented the Russians from overrunning the entirety of the European continent (with the possible exception of the British Isles).
Earlier this week, I was asking a patient (I will call her "S") about her husband's seemingly strange first name --- a name that I have never heard before. It turns out that he was named after a war buddy of his father --- a man who had saved his life in 1945. This person --- a local farmer who was a patient of mine before he passed away a few years ago --- was shot in the ankle and captured by the Germans. As the Allies pushed northeast into Germany from France, Belgium, and Holland, allied POWs were taken further north toward Berlin. The word "taken" would not be exactly accurate here, as these men were frequently force-marched because there were no spare trucks for the Nazis to haul them in. In fact, the person telling me this story described it as a "Death March".
If you have not thanked a WWII Vet lately for the fact that you are free, do it today. Time is running out, as there are not many left. HERE is a tribute to one who was there.