On June 6, 2014, we had the great honor of hosting 84 WW II Veterans at a luncheon at Landside. The lunch was to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the D Day Landings on the beaches of Normandy. When we first conceived the idea, we thought possibly a dozen…maybe 20 veterans would sign up to join us - can you imagine our joy at having so many more attend so we could show our appreciation to them for being the Greatest Generation?
Trust me when I tell you…I’ve had some great days in the restaurants over the past 30 years…last Friday was the GREATEST day I have EVER spent in a restaurant…and there isn’t a day that even comes in at a close 2nd.
We heard some unbelievable stories from many of the 84 Vets. We had one gentleman who landed on Normandy on D Day, my Uncle Louie came down from Clemson to be here for the luncheon…he landed there on June 10th, 1944 (D+4). Two Iwo Jima Survivors met at the luncheon and shared stories. Two gents from the same regiment sat together…A Pearl Harbor Survivor attended and shared a story of that fateful day in December 1941. One story from a Vet who “directed traffic” on D Day…he was on radio making sure everyone was going where
and when supposed to…a glider pilot…a Vet who received the Distinguished French Medal of Honor…and we had a Veteran of the Royal Air Force (RAF) from England…WAVES as well. Some brought medals, some their busted foot medal from their discharge.
These men and women were willing to leave their families and make the ultimate sacrifice
for our freedom...now they are dads, grandpas, great grandpas, uncles, GREAT Uncles, brothers and cousins to further generations who we hope will pass their stories on to and keep the history of generations alive.
I borrowed a plea from a retired Major General who was on Normandy Beach both on June 6th, 1944 and on June 6th, 2014 when he implored the 1,000 Veterans there to be reporters of history…tell the 1st hand stories so we don’t have to rely on historians to tell it and probably get the stories wrong…let me tell you, our 84 local WWII Vets told some stories. If you’d like to see some of the stories, Charles Clapsaddle from METV recorded them all and put together in a 90 minute documentary/report on the luncheon…it’s airing now on METV. Charles is bringing us a video DVD, we’ll post a link on our website for you to see it as well…promise you won’t throw anything at the screen when I’m telling my stories. THNX so much Charles, Richard, John & the gang @ METV…awesome job!
To check out the wonderful pictures that Gary Sweetman took of the celebrations at Landside last week click on the link below:
BAY NEWS 9 ARTICLE CLICK HERE.
BRADENTON HERALD VIDEO CLICK HERE
BRADENTON HERALD NEWS ARTICLE CLICK HERE
METV PROGRAM ON YOU TUBE CLICK HERE
Posted on 06/23/2016 at 12:00:00 AM