What did you do in the war, Daddy?
This was a popular question during a period after World War II and beyond, even working its way into popular American culture in the form of the title of a Hollywood movie. Friday, June 6 is the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Europe, popularly known as "D-Day," the largest invasion in the history of the world. Historical figures like Dwight D. Eisenhower and Field Marshall Erwin Rommel faced off in the clash of the titans on the beaches of Normandy, France, that day.
Tens of thousands of British and American troops waded ashore on those beaches only to face heavy artillery fire from German machine guns. Between 8,000 and 10,000 brave soldiers died on those beaches that day. Six months later American forces, falsely thinking the Germans had been beaten back, paused for a moment for a well-deserved rest. At that moment they were attacked by Hitler’s finest troops at a battle which came to be known as the Battle of the Bulge. Thousands of American troops died in this great confrontation, yet many lived to follow General George S. Patton as they liberated the concentration camps of Buchenwald and others. My personal hero, my Dad, Tech. Sgt. John Zink, fought and witnessed the horrors of war and the atrocities committed at these camps. Almost 30 years passed by before Dad shared stories of his war experiences with me and his family.
I ask that everyone who reads this letter take a moment on Friday, June 6, to remember the brave military personnel who weren’t able to return home to their families after World War II. May God bless all of our Veterans and our currently-serving troops overseas and at home.