Tri-State Chapter, 2002 Memorial Service:
Take a 19-year old ...
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You take a nineteen-year old - put him in a uniform - order him around for thirteen weeks - put him in a boat and then land him on a foreign shore.
For thirty-plus months you subject him to such atrocities that no human being should ever experience. Again you put him on a boat and send him home, expecting him to pick up his life where it left off.
One of the first questions asked: "How was it?" He tries to explain. Nothing said can make them understand. They had to be there to understand what he went through.
So the past months go to the back part of his mind where he keeps all his bad memories. He puts his life together making a living - raising a family - making new friends and eventually forgetting the horrors of war.
The occasion arises and he goes back to that foreign shore and "BANG - just like that" all of those dark memories that were buried so deep in his mind have returned.
He stands at the cemeteries at Anzio and Florence and looks at all those white crosses - then it hits him, under each white cross is a nineteen-year-old that could have been him - or could have been someone who could have had a life like he had.
He also remembers that under those white crosses are men who wore the Red Bull - some of them wore it for less than twenty-four hours.
So today we remember those men of our chapter who have died since our past reunion in 2001, and also our fallen comrades and friends who died in Italy, and all who were once a part of the 34th Infantry (Red Bull) Division.
May the Lord take each of them into his arms and we pray that we may never again face what we Red Bulls did so many years ago.
To Karen Stanley and the staff at West Point, we thank you for the opportunity to provide this service in the memory of our friends who are no longer with us. Many of our comrades were led by men trained at this Academy, and many of us are alive today because of their knowledge and leadership.
We can only pray that you, who are in training today, will not ever have to fight in a war of the magnitude of World War II.
Our prayer is for the world to be a better place and that your training will enable you and others to find solutions that will make that wish come true.Source: "Words Read at the Necrology at the Old Chapel at West Point".
Presented by Ray Rudolph on 12 July 2002, in the Old Cadet Chapel, United States Military Academy, West Point NY.
Reprinted from the August 1, 2002 newsletter of the Tri-State Chapter, 34th Infantry Division Association.
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