Still the greatest generation

Friday - 6/8/2012, 2:00am EDT

It's been 68 years and two days since the allies (the U.S., Great Britain and Canada) stormed (or slogged) ashore at Normandy. The outcome wasn't a sure thing, but it (along with key turning points at Midway and other places) was the beginning of the end of what many believe was the last "good" war.

World War II vets are dying at the rate of about 1,200 a day. But even though it happened a long, long time ago, lots of us have memories or actual links to it. That was the subject of Wednesday's column and a lot of people had things, good things, to add. You can check out the public comments section for that day. Here are a few that came directly to me:

  • "What a great reminder for all of us that our generation really does not know the meaning of worries and living day by day. THANK YOU!

    My Kentucky family saw all their children return home from the war, but scars were always there. They all just lived with it. I often wonder how my grandmother raised nine children to adults then see four go to the military. Three of the four were in the Pacific operations. (With) one of the sons, they were never sure of his location but ... his picture ended up in the 1943 Saturday Evening Post (wish I could find a copy), and in the meantime she and my grandfather were caring for his three children. They were lucky to be farmers because they had extra mouths to feed all the time!

    When I get disgusted with my federal employee job and those around me, I think of Grandma Icy Collins. If she could get up everyday and do what was needed, then I can at least do my job. (until I retire next year anyway)

    Many thanks for the reminder of what people have sacrificed to make sure we can fuss now. — Cynthia L. Briggs

  • Thanks for your article and personal recollections. It reminds me yet again of how fortunate my wife and I are. I am 60 and she is 58. Her mom and dad are both alive and quite well at 86 and 87. Dad is also a Normandy vet. He landed with the 30th division on D-Day+4. The 30th had been brought in as replacements for the horrific losses suffered by the 29th. Interestingly they are also from Pennsylvania (central PA just above State College, near Kylertown) Both came from decent, hardworking country folk. During the Depression, they never thought of themselves as poor, they had everything they needed. Like your family, many of them served. During the D-Day invasions, Dad was on the beach, one brother was in a B-17 overhead, another was on a one of the ships off the coast, and scores of friends from his hometown were in the service. It is sad that your dad, like so many from that time did not get to do and see the things you mentioned. I am reminded constantly of how fortunate my wife and I are. In fact I will be visiting with my in-laws this afternoon in recognition of D-Day, while they get to visit with their 14 month old great granddaughter. Thanks again for the recognition. — Best Regards

  • My father also served in the Army in World War II. He joined the Army in October 1940, and was finally discharged in June 1945, having spent a majority of his time in the Army fight the war.

    My Dad fought in the Pacific at New Guinea and other places. He was in the Infantry, and was a Gliderman. I don't know much more about this and have always wondered what Gliders were doing in the Pacific.

    Anyways, my Dad survived physically, but he had some issues dealing with the war. He didn't talk much about it or say much. I wish I knew more, but I do know it was pretty traumatic for him.

    Thank you for sharing about your family and what they did in the War. I feel like the war in Europe gets a lot of attention while the men who fought in the Pacific are pretty much forgotten. — Best Wishes, Jean Hardy.

  • Donald Pyle (There are two spellings of Pile/Pyle in Western Pennsylvania), my wife's a Pile and I can never get which spelling is right), Friedens, Penn.

    From the WW II Memorial Registry:

    Activity during WWII: 29th division, 116th infantry, Company I. Landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944. Received the French medal (awarded by the French government for the liberation of France for participation in the Normandy invasion), the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, European-African-Middle Eastern service with 4 Bronze Stars medals, good conduct medal and expert infantry badge. Achieved rank of staff sergeant."