Friday, April 15th, 2016The sun was shining as we loaded up three cars; the sense of excitement was building. By 11:45, the golfers starting showing up. Mark Robinson, from O’Reilly Buick-GMC, pulled up in a white 2016 Casacata Convertible and parked it next to the registration table so that all the golfers could see what they could win with a hole-in-one on the 9th hole. By noon, Kim Miller and Dianna Curtis delivered our Pica’s pizzas and Pretzels from Pretzel Boys; followed by Chris Knight, from Double Edge Sports Grille, dropping off the best chicken cheese steak egg rolls in Delaware County. The golfers, volunteers, and the staff at Paxon, enjoyed the food we provided.
The Unveiling of Our Hero Reawakens American Pride
Saturday September 19, 2015 was not an ordinary fall day in Delaware County; it was a day of celebration as the 8’ Bronze Statue of Wild Bill Guarnere, by sculptor Chad Fisher, found a home at the Delaware County Veterans Memorial. Chad was able to capture the energy, the spirit and the courage of not just Wild Bill, but also of those men who he stood so proudly with from Easy Company. The statue is a testament to the true grit and determination of America’s greatest generation and an awe-inspiring tribute to a man always willing to share his heart. The statue also speaks to the values Bill instilled in his family: bravery, decency, love for one’s self and others and American pride. For those present at the unveiling, the statue became a symbol of hope as Bill’s quiet strength seemed to capture our hearts.
On June 6, 1944, thousands of lives hung in the balance as young men stormed the beaches. Many would not come back. Of those who did, only a precious few remain. The sunshine and crisp wind at the Delaware County Veterans Memorialserves as counterpoint to the weighty skies over Normandy 71 years ago.
To commemorate the 71st Anniversary of D-Day, the team from the Wild Bill Guarnere Memorial Fund was on hand with members of the DCVMA board, Double Edge Sport’s Bar and Grille (serving fantastic food), ParadoxLabs, Cigna Insurance, Damon Feldman and several local veterans and their families and friends at noon to witness the first casket flag raising ceremony in honor of Wild Bill over the grounds that will soon be his new home. Attendees stood in silence, some near tears and some with their heads bowed as though in prayer as the members of the Guarnere family began raising the flag. It was emotional, it was solemn and it was a reminder to all that the price of freedom remains with those laid to rest to defend it.
I hope you all enjoyed your Memorial Day weekend and I hope you took a moment to remember the heroes of the past. And then say a prayer for the men and women who serve in dangerous places around the world. Like all the soldiers before them, they faced their fears, they found courage, and they took their positions on the front lines of freedom.
As I have done every year since the premier of Band of Brothers Part 1 “Currahee” on September 1, 2001, I sat transfixed on the TV to begin my Memorial Day Marathon. Each year as the HBO miniseries produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, based on the non-fiction book by Stephen E. Ambrose begins, I question if I sufficiently appreciate the sacrifices made by these men of Easy Company. Their extraordinary courage as they dropped behind enemy lines on D-Day, their never give up attitude during the Battle of the Bulge and their triumphant victory securing Hitler’s “Eagle’s Nest,” are mere reflections of the bonds of friendship and brotherhood that carried these men through the darkest moments of the war.
Watching the history of Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, from basic training to D-Day is truly an experience like no other. Following these men from the front line soldier, to the privates, to the non-coms to the officers who carry out the grand strategy of generals, makes the viewer feel as if they are standing by the side of these men.
Jamie Santora, the State Representative for the 163rd Legislative District of Pennsylvania, has cosponsored legislation with State Representative Mark Keller for the 86th Legislative District of Pennsylvania that would designate a section of Columbus Boulevard, between Oregon Avenue and Washington Avenue in the City of Philadelphia--Philadelphia County, as the William J. Guarnere and Edward James Heffron Memorial Boulevard.
According to Jamie Santora’s Facebook page the Memorial Boulevard will recognize Wild Bill’s and Babe’s “gallant service.”
Today’s story is coming to you directly from the trenches. Our friend, Michael Roberts, began an 8,992 mile journey across the country in order to raise awareness about the challenges faced by those soldiers returning home that are left disabled. His decision to pursue this journey stems from his own experiences and says that, “When I look at a veteran who has lost limbs, when I look at a veteran amputee.....I realize that, well, that could have been me!”