The soldiers of World War II, the heroes among us, are dying at the startling rate of over 1,100 veterans per day. They are the living connection to our country's wartime history and, as they pass away, so do their stories. Three of the men profiled in NOW's D-Day to the Rhine special have written their war memoirs. The books make for exciting reading/ The provide an intimate portrait of the ordinary men who became American heroes..
We invite you the help keep these memories alive. We have their instructions for interviewing veterans online. We also invite you to share your memories in our online scrapbook. And access instructions about recording oral histories from the Library of Congress's Veteran's History Project.
We'll keep adding throughout the year keep coming back.
Excerpt from TWO HUNDRED FIFTY-FIVE DAYS by Paul Davis Marable Jr.
"To be chosen among those to open the western front, to invade Fortress Europa; wasn't this something! Not only that, but I had been designated by Colonel Kenneth Reimers, our battalion commander, to be Beach Control Officer for our battalion, the first officer ashore from our ship and the one responsible for keeping tally on all vehicles and personnel making the landing. Proud."
"Although I had not met and was never to meet an American officer P.O.W. whom I could suspect of abject, "kamerad" surrender, not even the fact of depleted ammunition or the hindrance of physical incapacity seemed completely to absolve the lurking sense of guilt to answer fully the question, "Why am I not dead?"
"One thing which had kept me going throughout the experiences·was a determination not to be deprived of dignity."
Excerpt from MAX'S MEMOIRS: THE FIRST TWENTY-NINE YEARS BY MAX LALE
"In retrospect, the thing that bothers me most about this experience is that I was so little bothered by it then. Though I still was fairly new to the war, I already had seen enough of war's devastation and death to have become inured to is consequences. News of the atrocity had circulated widely through the ranks, · If anything, the experience may have worked to further overcome any reluctance I might have felt toward destroying anything German."
In reference to the Malmedy atrocity where the S.S. colonel Joachim Peiper ordered the execution of American soldiers after their surrender in Malmedy, Belgium.
Excerpt from WAR CHRONICLE: AN INFANTRYMAN WITH PATTON by Howard M. Randall
"Jesus, it's a Kraut' shouted one of the more alert guys and he hit the ground. The trees were too far away to reach. His shout was punctuated by rapid fire machine guns from the diving German [plane]. As I hit the ground I saw dirt spurting from the impact of the bullets. The bursts were about thirty feet apart · I couldn't help but think: Wouldn't it be a hell of a note to get hit by enemy fire 100 miles behind the front lines?