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Pieces of the Past — D-Day

June 5, 2024

Many men from Warren County were “there” on June 6, 1944. I was friends with two of them. Chuck Kenedy Sr. and Archie Wetmore. Both men shared only a few minutes of memories with me ending with the words “it’s tough to talk about this.”

Archie was involved “behind the lines.” He was a CG4 glider pilot! The focus of such activity has been on paratroopers. Glider pilots were launched in pairs or even three’s by C-47 cargo planes. Once a specified distance from a landing site they were set free and each WACO glider was flown to a landing zone usually behind enemy lines. The plan was that recovery aircraft would come to make a low pass and pick up the glider. I’m sure there were times that it worked. For Archie it didn’t. He was captured and sent to a prison camp.

Chuck Kenedy missed the D-Day landings by about a week or so. When he landed in France, fighting was still going on roughly 10 miles inland. The thing he shared brought tears to his eyes. He told me that from the beach and up inland for several miles were stacked bodies.

“They were stacked up like cordwood about 5 to 6 feet high.”

The bodies were on both sides of the road. He went on to say that every one of those were somebody’s son, somebody’s father, somebody’s husband. It choked him up to the point that at 18 years old he broke down sobbing.

Wetmore told me that when he was liberated the German guards were more fearful. They had put him through much more than the Geneva Convention allowed. Kenedy refused to talk about more. Both men went on to raise families in Columbus Township. Both sang with me in the Columbus Church Choir.

My brother served in Vietnam and said the same thing that Archie and Chuck said, “once you’ve faced war, civilian life is a piece of cake.”

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