WWII 82nd Airborne
My dad was a paratrooper during WWII in the 82nd Airborne, and one of the places he mentioned most often was Ste. Mère-Eglise, the only French words he ever knew and pronounced correctly. He was in Ste. Mère-Eglise on D Day and even saw the church, but he never saw a soldier hanging from it so he always thought the story was made up for a movie, but I'm learning now that it was true.
Very few people knew that Eisenhower made a top secret visit to the U.S. during WWII. . . until his wife Mamie wrote an autobiography and told that he slipped into her hotel in the middle of the night. She said she always wondered if there would be a rumor about her midnight paramour while Ike was overseas.
Wow -- “There’s a graveyard in northern France where all the dead boys from D-Day are buried. The white crosses reach from one horizon to the other. I remember looking it over and thinking it was a forest of graves. But the rows were like this, dizzying, diagonal, perfectly straight, so after all it wasn’t a forest but an orchard of graves. Nothing to do with nature, unless you count human nature.”
Was he out there? What was he thinking. He joined up before it became obvious that the U.S. would join the war. He thought being a paratrooper would be cool, and he wanted a set of airborne wings. -- Airborne troops preparing for the jump into Normandy, June 5, 1944.
My dad was in the 82nd airborne, and there was also the 101st airborne. -- American Paratroopers get ready to make the jump.
I always wonder if I'll see my dad in any of these photos -- May 7, 1945 - Celebrating Germany’s Surrender: Jubilant American soldier hugs motherly English woman and victory smiles light the faces of happy service men and civilians at Piccadilly Circus, London, celebrating Germany’s unconditional surrender. England, May 7, 1945.
How sweet - On 20th April, 1941, the morning after 150 incendiary bombs had gutted St. Bartholomew's, East Ham a bride and groom arrived at the wrecked church. They found charred timbers and ravaged walls were all that was left of the church where they were to be married that day. But Helen Fowler, aged 20 of East Ham and her Canadian soldier sweetheart, Cpl. Christopher Morrison, aged 21 stood proudly amid the ruins of the bombed-out church and made their wedding vows.
This is one of two stained glass windows in the church commemorating the USA 82nd Airborne Division's liberation of the town. It depicts Saint Michael (patron saint of paratroopers) and the insignia of Allied military units that fought in or near the town. The centre panel, at the bottom, proclaims: They Have come Back. (June 6, 2009) The other window depicts the Virgin Mary surrounded by paratroopers. Sainte Mere-Eglise