D-Day: A listener’s memory of a father’s story.

Dear Mr. Pratt,

Every year on this date, June 6th, my mind travels back to my earliest memories of childhood, sitting on my father’s lap, and asking him about his experiences in World War II. He never failed to talk to us about the experiences that had historical significance, especially when we would were studying those particular sections about the war, in our history books.

His personal testimony made the events quite real to our young minds, and encouraged me to want to know more about that period in world history.

Daddy was a modest man, and would not make too much of a story-just tell the facts as he observed. “We were just doing our job,” was all he would respond, when he told us about the later terrible battles of the 4th Infantry Division, including their D-Day objective of securing the Port of Cherbourg. The 4th Infantry Division fought in 5 major campaigns of the war and had 5 battle stars, and on to the occupation of Germany.

Jessie M. Roberts, my father, was in the Battle of the Hedgerows, The Liberation of Paris, The Battle of the Bulge, The Hurtgen Forest  (where he was nearly killed), The Seigfried Line.

He spoke casually of staying with a soldier in his unit that had a severe bullet injury in his leg, holding tightly to a tourniquet to keep the young man from bleeding to death while the the U.S. Army had to pull back from the hill they had been occupying, because the Germans were advancing in that direction. My father stayed all night on that hill with that young soldier. Thankfully, the two of them were not captured or killed, but were rescued the next morning.

That soldier lost his leg, but he and his wife stayed in touch with my father and mother for years until his death.

My father received the Bronze Star, but would never tell us why. He said, “They (the army) were just passing them out.”  We discovered a few years ago that the army records in regard to the Bronze Star awarded to him were burned in a fire in Chicago.

I truly feel blessed and honored to have had such a man as this as my father. He passed away in 1984 at the young age of 69.

Blessed to be a Texan,

Mary L.

 

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