Friday, June 06, 2008

D Day

The Courier Press has an article about a D Day veteran who passed away last February at the age of 89. He brought back from the war a priceless memo of the greatest invasion in military history. This is Karl Sensmeier, an Army MP who landed at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944.

"It was so hot with fire that many GIs died before leaving the boat. I had to jump over the bodies when I hit the water."

[...] For years, memories of the carnage made him wake up screaming in the middle of the night.

Do you remember the horrific opening scenes from the movie, "Saving Private Ryan," where US soldiers are landing on the beach? The film representation of the violence was stunning, shocking.

Karl Sensmeier also watched the movie with his family; his reaction?

"As bad as the beginning sequences were, Dad said the real thing was much, much worse," Jeff Sensmeier says. "I don't think enough people realize what that generation went through so we could enjoy the lives we have today. The Depression. Global war. You can't say enough about their sacrifice."

This is the top secret map he was issued that shows the staging areas for all the troops landing at Omaha Beach. The map is now framed, hanging on a wall in his widow's house.

The carefully drawn scale representation shows where air corps personnel would be deployed as well as locations set aside for naval units and transportation elements.

"If the Germans had gotten hold of this before the invasion, they would have had a great deal of information about the landing and things would have been even worse for our forces," says Jeff Sensmeier, one the Sensmeier's four children.

We have already lost so many WWII vets. In perhaps fifteen years there may be none left.

We salute these brave men and women, all of them, who gave so much that we might enjoy the privileged lives we have now.

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