In tribute to my favorite veteran (my Dad)! I am posting a part of a poem he wrote about his experience at Anzio, Italy. The ship he was in was hit by a bomb and sank and Dad was wounded yet by God’s grace he managed to swim to shore. Thanks to God and to my father and all those others who have served over the years we have the freedoms which we enjoy today. This is just my small way of saying, “Thank You!” He wrote this from France because it was written later in the year after he had recovered from his head wound.
Photo from Dedication of the World War II memorial in Washington D C
Invasion 282 by Al Caligiuri France 1944
The flaming ship is bursting high;
The roars rebound!
Fragments hissing by!
And yet the voices ——!
From out the night
Thoughout the night
“Help me! Help me!”
The G.I. yell, but who can hear?
“This way, this way!” You can make it.
Come on you can make it!”
And then a silent prayer falls from his lips
His heart is sad!
Dear God, Watch over them!
Dear God, Help them!
” During the early morning hours of 22 January 1944, troops of the Fifth Army swarmed ashore on a fifteen-mile stretch of Italian beach near the prewar resort towns of Anzio and Nettuno. The landings were carried out so flawlessly and German resistance was so light that British and American units gained their first day’s objectives by noon, moving three to four miles inland by nightfall.” U.S. Army Center of Military History by Clayton D. Laurie
My Dad remembered that day a bit differently. Though my Father related almost none of His combat experience from the war he did share about that day. In those early morning hours as the boat was bringing Dad’s unit ashore, they were hit by a bomb or a large artillery shell. He remembers one moment being on the deck writing on a tablet and the next moment waking up in the water. At first He remembered seeing another man clinging onto a board near him in the water. The events seemed to blur in Dad’s mind as he swam. Having grown up in Far Rockaway, New York, not far from the beach Dad was a strong swimmer. His next memory was of waking up on land, with the pencil still gripped tightly in his hand!
Afterward, Dad spent quite some time in the hospital for the head wound he received from his easy day at Anzio. He recovered in plenty of time to return to active duty till the final days of the war. Dad never thought of himself as anything special. All his stories ended with a bit of gentle humor about the things he experienced. Dad did what needed to be done when it was needed most. There have never been any easy battles. This Veteran’s Day we can all be thankful for the sacrifices of all the people who have put their lives on the line for America. Thanks Dad, I’m missing you today but I know you’ve already won the greatest battle of all. I’ll meet you again when I’ve finished mine!