I just finished reading the incredible story of Henry Langrehr and his D-Day survival in Western Europe in today's paper (June 6). What an amazing man. It brought me to tears. It also triggered memories of my parents at that time, but in the Pacific Theater.
My dad served in the Army from 1942-45, was wounded, contracted malaria and incurred jungle sores on both legs. He rarely talked about it, but did mention the soldier next to him was killed just before my dad was wounded. The horrors he saw stayed with him.
They married in August 1942. In October of that year my dad left for the Army. They did not see each other for three years. My mom worked on the family farm, kept scrap books of news items about area servicemen, and I have every letter my dad sent to her. One of my retirement goals is to read all of those letters and perhaps retrace some of his World War II steps. We have donated many of his Army items to the Delaware County Historical Museum in their hometown of Hopkinton, Iowa, to preserve them for future generations.
I lost my dad in high school before really knowing what a great man he was. My mom passed away in 1997. I've been blessed with a great life — wife, kids, grand-kids, retirement — all because of the incredible sacrifices of my parents and people like them and Henry Langrehr.
Thank you to truly the greatest generation ever. Thank you to all of the thousands of soldiers and their families after them.