Grandfather of area native fought in Battle of Bulge
Editors note: This is a patriotic story written by Eric Dirk and submitted by his grandmother, Georgine Johnson from Hughesville. Eric, a Hughesville High School graduate in 1995 and a Penn State graduate, is now a Chief Petty Officer for the United States Navy based in Japan. He also obtained a degree in Master of Science at Columbia Southern University.
This story is about his grandfather who served in World War II and received the Silver Star award and 3 Bronze Stars. Eric wrote it for a speech he delivered on Veteran’s Day in 1994.
In 1944, a young twenty-one year old man was willing to give his life for his country in the small country of Luxembourg during World War II.
After four years of oppression and terror, Luxembourg was liberated by the United States Army. Unfortunately, the freedom was short lived. On December 16, 1944 the Nazi’s made a last desperate effort to regain Luxembourg. The Americans caught by surprise and outnumbered, had to give back the land after stubborn resistance.
After recovering from the initial shock, the American troops retook the offense and under the brilliant leadership of George S. Patton, Jr., were able to push the Germans back.
It was especially during December 1944 and January 1945, in adverse weather conditions that so many lives were lost, so many men wounded, so many villages and towns destroyed, and so much human suffering had occurred.
The Luxembourgers never forgot those dark December and January days and have always demonstrated their sincere gratitude to their American liberators.
The people of Luxembourg helped to build the “Liberation Memorial” to honor those individuals who fought for their independence. This memorial was inaugurated on June 11, 1994 in the presence of numerous visiting U.S. veterans and high ranking American, British and Luxembourg guests.
This battle could have been his resting place, but he decided to come back fifty years later to lay a wreath to commemorate those who died during the Battle of the Bulge. This man is Paul Johnson, my grandfather, a member of the 26 Infantry Division.
If it weren’t for veterans both past and present, none of us would be here on this very special day that we celebrate as Independence Day.