"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"-MARK TWAIN

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Veteran’s Day Short Story.


Written by Marshall Ramsey, a columnist of the Jackson, MS Clarion Ledger newspaper.  A heartwarming, but sad story that I thought was worth sharing.  As the story says, many  have no clue what those few that still walk among us have sacrificed to protect the lifestyle we enjoy today.

‘The Final D Day’

“On June 6, 2011, in the corner of an unremarkable nursing home, sat a forgotten man who was desperately trying to forget.

Joseph looked around at the room; it was a cloudy blur. Cataracts were taking his one last good sense from him. He did know the room was full of women. Old, gossipy women, if you asked him. He was the only man in the room and a source of much of their gossip. It was enough to bring a smile to his weathered face. “I would have killed to be in a room full of women when I was 20.” He rolled his wheelchair over to the window and looked out at the mountains in the distance. He loved the East Tennessee Smokies. The mountains faded to black as he closed his eyes and drifted off. He had killed when he was 20.

Explosions rocked the airplane. His C-47 Dakota, the military version of the venerable Douglas DC-3 two-engined transport, had caught fire. The Germans apparently did not want company. It was June 6, 1944 — D-Day as General Dwight D. Eisenhower had called it when he spoke to him and his fellow Rangers. They were in the 101st Airborne, the Screaming Eagles, and today was the first day of the end of Adolf Hitler’s reign over the continent of Europe. Flak tore through the front of the aircraft, killing a private who had been throwing up just seconds earlier. He looked away from the blood and out the window to see the right engine was flaming. Not a good start to the day. Suddenly an explosion...

The old man woke up. Dorothy Snodgrass had dropped her tray, causing the young orderlies to scurry like ants. To the workers at the nursing home, he was just an old man, a crumbled relic of humanity. He looked out at the mountains again and could see shapes in the clouds. That one reminded him of the Eiffel Tower. Ah, the day he helped liberate Paris. He could smell the sweet smell of perfume in the air. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and tasted the lipstick of the young French girl who had planted her lips on his.

A young worker tapped him on his shoulder. “Time for your pills, old timer.” The man looked at the 24-year-old. The kid knew nothing about sacrifice. About pain. About losing everything and gaining ultimate victory. The kid shoved three pills into his mouth and gave him a drink of water. “Swallow these and I’ll go get you some lunch.”

Lunch. Mush or whatever the mystery gruel of the day was. Sigh. He remembered his first meal at the German cafe in Berchtesgaden. The taste of the beer. The softness of the bread. The fraulein who served him. Blonde. Busty. He closed his eyes again and his mind drifted off.

More explosions. He floated down into Hell. The C-47 was on fire, lighting up the inky black of the Normandy sky — they had to jump early. Lord only knew where he was about to land. He looked over at his captain. Tracer fire ripped through the captain’s body, causing it to burst into a cloud of red vapor. What was left of his body plummeted to the ground. The Germans weren’t playing. He was jolted to his senses as his legs hit the ground. More explosions went off around him. ...

A door had slammed. The man lifted his chin so the young man could wipe the food off of it. How embarrassing. How could a warrior like him end up in this place?

He rolled over to a dark corner, forgotten, and closed his eyes once again. This time there were no explosions; he just saw his former comrades. They were coming out of the light, surrounded by fog. There was Lefty. There was Sarge. There was Jimbo. All had perished in the Battle of the Bulge. The captain came and grabbed his hand. “Get out of that chair, soldier,” he commanded. The man could walk for the first time in years. He walked arm and arm with his buddies into history.

His war was over. His victory had finally come. It was his final D-Day.”

Be sure and Thank a Veteran, today!!


  1. Wonderful story...thank you for sharing on this special day...

  2. Great post. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Oh wow, that brought tears to my eyes.

  4. Oh, my, that was a tear jerker for sure. We are losing WWII veterans in very large numbers. I hope they are all treat with the respect they deserve until the final one has his final D Day. Thanks for a beautiful post.

  5. I'm glad my Kleenex box is by my chair. Sad but wonderful story. I have made it a habit for many years now, if I see a man proudly wearing his baseball cap showing his branch of service or what ship he was on, or a man or woman in their military uniform, be it grocery store, restaurant or just on the street, I will stop to thank them for their service to our country.

  6. Jerry, I cried. My dad was a WWII 101st Marine Division hero. Guadalcanal. He went home in 2001. They truly were the greatest generation.

    I used to think I was of the same caliber. But I've learned I'm not. I doubt few alive today are.

    What an awesome legacy they left behind. And how wonderful that some of us remember.

  7. My dad has been gone for many years but I think he would say that his time during WW2 was his finest hour.
    My stepfather, who is still alive, was a frogman and he has graced us with some of his stories. What a treasure he is!

    Very appropriate tale....great reminder to not forget them.

  8. What a moving story...thanks for sharing...and a special thanks for remembering that "Great Generation"....and all veterans...Have a super day!...Horst

  9. Thank you for sharing that awesome story. Truly brought tears to my eyes and a renewed appreciation for the many sacrifices that have been made for me.


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