WW II veteran: ‘Show patriotism, never forget’


Jim Walsh holds the proclamation given to him by Wilkes-Barre City officials during a ceremony in 2012.


D Day facts

According to www.army.mil — the official website of the U.S. Army:

• On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France.

• Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.”

• More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion and, by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in Continental Europe.

• The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe to defeat Adolf Hitler’s crack troops.

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.

Jim Walsh holds the proclamation given to him by Wilkes-Barre City officials during a ceremony in 2012.
http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/web1_JIMWALSHflags-1.jpgJim Walsh holds the proclamation given to him by Wilkes-Barre City officials during a ceremony in 2012.

By Bill O’Boyle

[email protected]

D Day facts

According to www.army.mil — the official website of the U.S. Army:

• On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France.

• Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.”

• More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion and, by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in Continental Europe.

• The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe to defeat Adolf Hitler’s crack troops.

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

timesleader

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.