Share memories before it's too late
Col. Biggio is to be commended on two accounts: first for his excellent article on artillery in the Bulge; second for his reminder that veterans need to contribute articles about their experiences. The latter theme was echoed in an article by Ed Ruggero in the June issue of "Naval History" magazine entitled "Tell Us," exhorting veterans to share their stories — one of my main concerns as the son of a late member of the 99th.
Any member of the 924th FA Bn. (Dad's unit) will tell you my recurring theme is "I thought I knew a lot about my dad's experiences in the war, but only after his death and my research on the unit's history, do I realize how much more I should have asked."
Veterans, please don't assume that we aren't interested, or that we know it all, or that there was nothing remarkable about your experiences. It's not enough to say, "well, after the Bulge we crossed the Rhine at Remagen, bottled up a German army, then joined Patton in Bavaria." How many of you ever have written about the Ruhr Pocket and the drive to the Danube? What about the weather; the people you encountered; the towns you went through; the problems with equipment, food, supplies, etc.? Some of us want to know everything!
Many thanks also to Barbara Celia for submitting her father's letter, providing first-hand information while the details were still fresh. I wonder how many more of those kinds of letters are out there waiting for a chance to appear in the Checkerboard? I hope Celia's letter sparks a treasure hunt.
Last, with all the publicity about the long-overdue World War II Memorial and the 60th anniversary of D-Day, I wrote to my congressman and senators reminding them there is another 60th anniversary this winter — the Battle of the Bulge. I also pointed out the Navy has a tradition of naming ships for famous battles (Bunker Hill, Yorktown, Antietam, Gettysburg, Normany, etc.), but there never has been a USS Ardennes and I think it's time there was. Just a thought, but some readers may want to write similar letters to their Congressional delegation.
James W. Grace
5452 T Road
Waterloo IA 62298