WILKES-BARRE — On the 72nd anniversary of D Day, World War II veteran Jim Walsh said all Americans should never forget the sacrifices made by military personnel in all wars.
Walsh, 91 ,of Wilkes-Barre, served in the Army in Europe during World War II.
“We should always remember our veterans,” he said. “And we should display the flag on these days. Show your patriotism — never forget.”
Back in 1944, Walsh was glad to hear the U.S. invaded Europe to take on Hitler and the Germans.
“We couldn’t let them get a foothold in Europe,” he said. “We had to free those other nations and protect the interests of the U.S. If we didn’t get involved, Hitler would have conquered Europe.”
Walsh said his thoughts always return to the soldiers involved in the D Day invasion. He can’t imagine what was going through their minds as they prepared to hit the beaches along Northern France.
“I think of the young men getting off those landing crafts — LCVPs (landing craft vehicle and personnel),” Walsh said. “Many of them never got to shore. When they ran out of the LCVPs, they were hit with machine gun and artillery fire. So many were lost.”
Walsh talked about the bravery of the soldiers — he notes they all knew there was a chance they would not return to their families.
“Many of them knew they weren’t going to make it,” Walsh said. “They were told that by Gen. Dwight Eisenhauer and other officers. I can’t imagine what was going through their minds — the fear. Yet, they still ran off those boats to that beach to meet the enemy. They knew they had to — for their country.”
Walsh said he’s proud to be an American and proud to be a veteran who fought for his country.
“I’m thankful every day that I was born in America and served my country,” he said. “And I am proud of all veterans who served in the military and fought to defend our country and the world.”
Every year, Walsh advocates for veterans and for patriotism. He urges everyone to display the flag on Memorial Day, July 4 and Veterans Day in support of the military and veterans of all wars.
“We all live in a free country, thanks to our veterans,” he said.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.