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Thursday, June 6, 2013

CSM (Ret.) Bill Ryan - A D-Day Veteran - Shares His Story

Aloha,

Today, sixty-nine years ago, up to 4,000 American troops died on the beaches of Normandy – in one day.

D-Day.

I have the honor of calling one D-Day veteran a friend, U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major (Ret.) William “Bill” Ryan.
U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major (Ret.) William "Bill" Ryan

Bill is a sprightly 88-year-old, retired Florida resident, but one who most definitely still enjoys traveling to different parts of the world. (Currently, he’s trying to figure a way to get over and see us here in Pearl Harbor :)

 I first met CSM Ryan when I was a beat reporter for Hometown News, a weekly, which at the time had nineteen issues and a circulation of more than 500,000 copies a week. 

I interviewed CSM Ryan several times over the course of a few months, and thought it would be appropriate, on this D-Day anniversary, to pull together some highlights of the two interviews.

However, before I do, why don’t you meet CSM Ryan yourself. Click here for this amazing, two-minute video clip from October 2012.
 (Go on. I'll wait :)
For my full print interviews, click here and here.

 And now, for some highlights of the 2006 interviews:

A career soldier and veteran of three wars, retired U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. William Ryan, who served his country for more than 30 years, walked a personal memory lane during a recent visit to Melbourne's Liberty Bell Memorial Museum. CSM Ryan said he’s looking forward to sharing some of his experiences with other local veterans.
CSM Ryan at the Liberty Bell Museum, Melbourne, FL, (2006)
 

"They say a stranger is only a friend you have yet to meet," he said. "I appreciate the invitation and always enjoy these informal talks [at the VFW posts.] Staying busy helps me feel young and definitely keeps me out of trouble."

One memorable occasion when he found himself in a literal boatload of trouble was during the early morning hours of June 6, 1944. During the initial phase of D-Day, historians have said the armada carried more than 156,000 Allied troops into France.

Ironically, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander, Allied Expeditionary Force, originally picked June 5 as the “unalterable” date. As the day approached and troops began to embark for the crossing, bad weather set in, threatening dangerous landing conditions.
U.S. Army Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower (Courtesy army.mil)
 

After tense debate, Eisenhower decided on a 24-hour delay, requiring the recall of some ships already at sea.

"Because of the rescheduled date, we ended up stuck on our transport for quite a few days," said  then-Pfc. Ryan, a young Army private assigned to Company I, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. "Many men were sick from the cramped quarters and the rough seas. But, once we loaded the boats and formed up for the 12-mile run to our assigned spot on Omaha Beach, things became much worse."
Assured of a break in the weather, Eisenhower is said to have begun the largest amphibious attack in history with the simple command: "OK. Let’s go."

So, in the early morning hours of June 6, 19-year-old Pfc. Ryan disembarked from his transport ship into a 36-foot "Higgins boat," or Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel.( LCVPs carried about 36 combat-equipped infantrymen, or 8,000 pounds of cargo from ship to shore.)

Pfc. Ryan's boat was one of more than 3,000 landing craft, 2,500 other ships and 500 naval vessels - escorts and bombardment ships that had left several English ports earlier.

Throughout those early hours, 822 aircraft, carrying parachutists or towing gliders roared overhead to the Normandy landing zones, a fraction of the air armada of 13,000 aircraft that would support D-Day. However, Pfc. Ryan said he was more concerned with what was going on at sea level.

"Once we departed the lee side of the transport, we were like a cork in a bathtub," he said. "Everyone who wasn't already sick immediately became ill. I was lucky - prior to my enlistment in the Army, I had served in the Merchant Marine."

On the way in to the beach, Pfc. Ryan said he saw two boats lost to the high waves. Then the drivers of the four remaining boats became disorientated due to a missing patrol boat that was supposed to ensure they were on course to hit their assigned area.
View from inside a "Higgins" LCVP (Courtesy army.mil)
 

"The beach was also covered with haze and smoke from the aerial bombardment, making identification of landmarks impossible," he said. "Add to all of this a strong current, and we ended up two miles off course to the east."

Retracing the route took time. When they got back on course, another two rifle companies had already landed and thus fouled up their landing beach, codenamed FOX GREEN.
"We were circling around like great big sitting ducks,” he said.

He finally ended up on the beach, but only after the landing craft suffered heavy damage due to the continuous barrage of heavy fire by German soldiers.
 

According to Encyclopedia Britannica's guide to the Normandy invasion, Omaha Beach was the second among the five landing areas of the assault. The beachhead was attacked, in part, by the U.S. 29th and 1st infantry divisions, many of whose soldiers drowned during the approach from ships offshore, or were killed by defending fire from embedded German troops atop the beach.

"Everything was crazy during the last few yards of our approach," he said. "Then our boat was hit. I was knocked unconscious and injured."

(He jokingly calls himself the “other Private Ryan.”)

 "No, it wasn't me, but (Stephen) Spielberg got it 99 percent right when he made the 1998 movie, Saving Private Ryan," he said. "Everything was going crazy, and I was knocked unconscious and injured when my boat was hit trying to get closer to the beach."

What was the missing one percent in Saving Private Ryan?

CSM Ryan said it was the "Tommy gun," an American-built Thompson .45 caliber submachine gun that was standard issue during the war.
"All through the movie, they never had to reload, not once," he said. "The Tommy gun was a good gun, but it wasn't that good. I wish."

He later discovered two men from his boat dragged him ashore, placing him against a small embankment.
On D-Day, Wounded soldiers Were Pulled Toward the fight...

"To this day, I've never met those two guys, but they sure did save one Private Ryan that day.”

Before he was evacuated back to England later that night, he had a front row seat and observed all the organized and mass confusion around him, not only on the beach, but in the water.
"Boy, if only I had a tape recorder or a movie camera.”

Wounded Soldiers on D-Day Await Evacuation (Courtesy army.mil)

 ###

After recovering, Pfc. Ryan was assigned to the 508th Airborne Infantry Regiment. He combat jumped into Nijmegen, Holland, and fought in the Battle of the Bulge before ending in Czechoslovakia at the end of the war.

While members of the media always contact him around the anniversary of D-Day, when it comes to what the armed forces accomplished during that dark period of the nation's history, CSM Ryan said he's detected a general note of apathy among the American public.

"I'm a representative of another generation. That's why I like to speak to groups. I'm trying to ensure our contributions will be remembered," he said. "I hope, by sharing my experiences of the past, that I'm contributing to the future."

 ###

The last time we corresponded (I send an email… and about a week later, a typed letter arrives at my door... which is awesome on many different levels) Bill said he’s on Chapter 53 of a book “I swear I’m not writing.”
Boy, wouldn’t *that* be a story to read.

 There’s also another reason why D-Day is very personal to me.

Holland was officially liberated May 5, 1945, but the first Allied troops entered the Netherlands Sept. 9, 1944, on a reconnaissance patrol. A small part of Limburg (in the southeast) was liberated by the U.S. 30th Infantry Division Sept. 12, 1944.

My father was born three weeks later, Oct. 2, 1944, in Amsterdam, Holland.



                                                    Da is on the RIGHT (Holland) - circa 1960)
                                                 
                                                   Me and Da (Ireland, 2005)
                                                  
                                                   Ultrasound of Son No. 1 (Mama's Tummy, 2007)

 So, Bill, I dedicate this post to you, and all your warrior-brothers who fought for freedom on D-Day – and to all the men and women back in the homeland who kept the ammo coming and the tanks rolling.

CSM Ryan, you and your peers really are founding members of the Greatest Generation.
And, I thank you, and all D-Day veterans who read this, for their service and their sacrifices.


                                         Omaha Beach scene from Saving Private Ryan (1998)

 

 

175 comments:

dawnall said...

Happy Blitz Day! My dad and father-in-law are both veterans. Nice article. Enjoy your day!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What an awesome story. Those two guys saved his life. So the scene in the movie is almost spot-on? Really scary.
Oh yeah - and happy Blitz day, Mark!!!!

Kelly Hashway said...

Mark, you've been blitzed! It's so nice to meet you. What a great post.

Tim Knight said...

Simply incredible. The debt we owe these people can never be repaid, but that doesn't mean we should stop trying. Thank you so much for sharing this inspirational story.

Daddy Grognard said...

An excellent post - there's a lot of stuff on the TV right now about the D-Day landings but you can't beat personal testimony. It's sad to think that it won't be long before all the voices from that historic time are silent; we should listen to them now while we still have the chance.

Timothy Brannan said...

What a great story!

I was always fascinated with D-Day as kid. Maybe one of my only "wargaming" experiences trying to redo an enactment with minis of it. So this story helps bring some of that into clearer focus.

Great Story and congrats on being Blitzed!!

Bibliophile said...

What Tim said. I too remember playing wargames based on the landings but finding out the truth about the battles makes my childhood games seem rather insensitive and I'm embarrassed about trivialising something so important.

This post really tells history from ground level; we should be teaching kids stuff like this, rather than kings and presidents. Thanks for sharing this with us, Mark.

Vicki Rocho said...

Where were these stories back when I took history in school? I would have retained so much more had it been personalized like this. What impresses me most is how YOUNG they all were.

Thanks for sharing!

Oh, and Happy Blitz Day!

Emma Adams said...

Happy blitz day! :) Really interesting post!

Charmaine Clancy said...

Tragic losses, but I guess there are never chirpy war stories. Great post and happy blitz.

Julie Flanders said...

Wow, what an amazing story. My dad was a WWII veteran and I always loved to hear his stories. He returned to the D-Day beaches in the 90s on the 50th anniversary and it was such a touching and emotional experience for him.

Thanks for sharing this post with us, and Happy Blitz day to you! :)

Marie Ann Bailey said...

This is a great post (and great blog). A family friend (since passed away) was a POW in WWII, captured at the Battle of the Bulge. He didn't talk about his experiences much, and when he did, it was heart-breaking. Thank you for keeping their memory alive. And Happy Blitz Day :)

Elizabeth Lawrence said...

Just an amazing post - thank you so much for sharing these stories! My grandfather also served, but he was sent to Africa. I think that was both better and worse for him, but he never really wanted to talk about it. The war stories were the only ones he never shared, but I agree it's important for coming generations to know what it was really like and appreciate what these people endured. It wasn't so long ago, after all.

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...

Happy Blitz Day!

There are so many reasons we must remember those last who fought for our freedom and those who continue to protect it today. My brother served in the Air Force and now serves in the Guard. I am so proud of him and so very thankful for the sacrifices made daily that we are unaware of...

What a wonderful tribute to an amazing generation!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That is so wonderful you were able to interview him and record his account so it isn't lost.

Happy Blitz Day!

Suzanne Lucas said...

Mark, what an awesome story. I still shudder at how badly we treat our veterans after everything they've done for us. Thanks for helping us remember just how much we owe them.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

What a great post! I'm glad I visited today - Blitz Day. :)

sjp said...

Great way to remember D-Day, a very thoughtful post.

Mary Clark said...

You are so lucky to get all that information. We are loosing those veterans very quickly and we need all of their stories. Nice job.
Mary Clark, Traveler

Anna Tan said...

This is the first I've heard of D-Day. Interesting post. :)

Happy Blitz day!

anna
Deeply Shallow

Jeremy [Retro-Z] said...

Thank you for a grand story...
Happy Blitz 2U!

Jeremy [Retro]
Oh No, Let's Go Crazy

Mark Means said...

I liked the part where he said he never even met the men who dragged him to safety. That's just how it was...they didn't think, they just acted when they saw a comrade in trouble.

Great stuff....oh, and happy Blitz Day, Mr. K! :)

Karen Walker said...

My father participated in another D-Day - in Northern Africa, got shot and came home. This is such a powerful interview, Mark. That generation was something special. Oh, and happy blitz day!

baygirl32 said...

My great uncle was on the beaches of Normandy, for years he would not talk about it. What a powerful interview!

Happy Blitz Day

Zan Marie said...

What a beautiful D-Day post! Thank you, Mark, for introducing us to a hero. My FIL drove ducks full of Marines onto the beaches of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. We still miss him and love reading about the other veterans who fought for us.

And Happy Blitz Day!

Amy "Lyre" Turner said...

My parents are both veterans, so I always enjoy seeing articles and interviews with other veterans about their incredible sacrifices and service for our country. I loved the articles, thank you for sharing them with us today. You are fortunate, indeed, to have made such an inspiring friend.

Happy Blitz Day!
Lyre @ Lyre's Musings

sydneyaaliyah.com said...

What an amazing story. That opening sense from Saving Private Ryan is crazy and interesting to hear he got it mostly right. How cool to hear it first hand from someone who was there.
You've been blitzed.
Great post.

Joanne said...

It seems appropriate that you are blitzed on D-Day. What a great post. Talk about modest heroes - glad you could interview your friend and share his story. He sounds like quite a guy at 88. Cheers

Heather M. Gardner said...

What a beautiful, heart warming and moving post this was.

Thank you to all who served and will serve. You are our true heroes.

Happy Blitz Day!

Heather

Megan said...

What an amazing story. I was booked in every word. Thank you for sharing and for writing. I work for a hospice and our goal is to squeeze out these kind of stories from our veteran patients. Happy blitz day!

Dana said...

What a great story and important post. Happy Blitz Day, friend!

Susan Stuckey said...

Wonderful, wonderful post.

Never forget!

Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to do and post this interview on this day.
#blogblitz

K. Nowinsky said...

Thank you for sharing - what a great story!

Melissa said...

Wow-such an awesome post, Mark. I enjoyed reading every word. Super job!

IWSG #123, until Alex culls the list again. :)

DL Hammons said...

What an amazing story and Bill is a very special person! I bow deeply to him and his brothers that fought along side him!!

This is the type of post that Blitzing was designed for! :)

Amy Jarecki said...

Lest we forget. Thank you for keeping this fresh in our minds. My father-in-law was in the second wave on D-Day. He was one of the lucky ones--slept in the Louvre, and eventually got to march into Berlin.

Kathleen said...

D-Day has always been one of the scariest things I'm too young to remember. I cannot imagine what those soldiers went through.

One helluva post for Blitz Day!

Robin said...

Thank you to introducing us to this wonderful veteran. I'm grateful for all he and others have done for our country and for the world. D-Day, we learned about it in history class, but I feel I learned more reading his personal account today. God bless.

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne said...

What an incredible story! It reminds us we should be so grateful to all our service men and women, every day. Without them, our country would not exist. CSM Ryan is a hero, as are all of our service people and I applaud them.

Pk Hrezo said...

Happy Blitz Day, Mark!!

Glad I didn't miss this post. My grandpa was in 101st Airborne that also stormed the beaches of Normandy. We have tons of his memorabilia. He died over 20 years ago tho.

I hope Pfc. Ryan gets to Pearl Harbor. Took my kids there last August and told them the story. Amazing stuff!

Angeline Trevena said...

What an amazing interview opportunity; I can't even imagine what it was like for all the soldiers on D-Day.

Man O' Clay said...

Thank you for reminding us of the sacrifice of those who fought. May we remember!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Happy Blitz! Thanks for sharing this story.

Rhonda said...

Thanks for sharing such an interesting story on blitz day :)
Rhonda @Laugh-Quotes.com

YVONNE LEWIS: said...

A wonderful story and a good day to be blitz.

Yvonne.

Meradeth Houston said...

What a slice of history! Thanks for sharing this today, and hats off to Bill!

Dobson said...

Hi Mark. DL said you had something special planned for today. I did not think about it being the anniversary of D-Day. I have never been to France, but if I do i want Normandy to be on my travel itinerary. Happy blitz day!

Nicki Elson said...

Thanks for posting these highlights. What a book that would be, indeed. I'm so in awe of our vetarans, and I love that Bill is out there talking about it - the best way to pass on history and make it real.

I hope he gets to Pearl Harbor!

Tiana Smith said...

Wow, what a story. Thank you for sharing, I didn't know a lot of that!

michelle said...

The perfect blitz post!
Happy Blog Blitz Day Mark!
Writer In Transit

Daisy Carter said...

I'm so happy you're getting blitzed today, because this is such a great post! I'm ashamed to admit I'd forgotten it was V-Day. I have to call some family members!

Thanks for a great post!

Daisy Carter said...

Umm, meant D-Day. Slip, sorry. *face palm*

Sarah Chafin said...

Amazing and informative post. Thanks for sharing. Happy Blitz Day!

Laura Marcella said...

Wow, what an incredible but harrowing story. Thanks for sharing. Happy Blog Blitz Day!!

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

M.J. Fifield said...

Hello from the Blitz!

Such a great post, and a fantastic story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Michael Di Gesu said...

An AMAZING true-life story!

Nicely told, Mark...


My dad was a vet and entered into the war toward the end. But he stayed in the military for a decade in Korea.

He never talked about his time spent there, but his military trained kept my two brothers and I in line... that's for sure. An army sergeant barking out orders all the time. LOL.


HAPPY BLITZ DAY!!!!!

Tammy ~ Country Girl at Home ~ said...

What an honor for you to interview him! I am so thankful for our brave men and women that serve our great country. God bless them all and a big thank you to them all.

Happy Blitz Day. Have a good one! :)


Blessings,
Tammy

Fida Islaih said...

Thanks for sharing and you've been blitzed!

Eva Gallant said...

What an amazing post! Happy Blitz Day!

S.K. Anthony said...

What an amazing story! I'm in awe of the men and women who so selfishly serve the country and the world by extension.

I find it so insane that they got scene *almost* right!

Thanks for sharing this post with us, very inspiring. Also, happy Blitz day ;)

Dani said...

What an amazing story from a true hero! Thanks for sharing and happy Blitz Day Mark!!!

Sarah Ahiers said...

I'm here from the blitz! Thanks for sharing such a great story!

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi, Mark. What an amazing story. Thank you for sharing about CSM Bill Ryan.

Happy Blitz Day!

Beverly Fox said...

Wow! What a fantastic post. Thank you SO MUCH for honoring this amazing manand sharing his words with us- my imagination went wild just from the few details he shared... really, I am just overwhelmed.

Happy blitz day, Mark. You rock.

Laura said...

Such a great story, it's always amazing to hear what it was like first-hand from someone who was there.
Happy Blog Blitz!

lilicasplace said...

That is truly an amazing story. Major historical events such as this should always be kept alive for future generations.

It is a pleasure to 'meet' you. By the way, you've been BLITZED!!! Happy Blog Blitz Day!

joeh said...

Thx of that!!

Petre Pan said...

It is AWESOME that you have all these interviews from different historical survivors. You are an awesome person!

Nicole said...

What a nice dedication to your friend, the "other Private Ryan!"

His wish to have had audio and visual recording devices during those days when everything was going on has me thinking of all that those of us coming up during modern day times have to be grateful for. There are so many tools available today to capture pivotal points in history that it would be a sorta waste for us not to utilize those things.

One thing that I hope more of us consider, however, is the power of the still photograph. No matter how much our technology evolves and how many tape recorders and video cameras we have come to be able to enjoy and access, the photograph, written word and first-person accounts are things that can provide a good glimpse into the very moments in time that we cherish and those battles that we can learn from...especially the strength and perseverance shown by the troops who made it through as well as those who are no longer with us.

Have a Happy BLITZ!

~Nicole
Post A-to-Z Road Trip Co-Host
www.madlabpost.com

M. J. Joachim said...

God bless America, and God bless our veterans and military personnel. Thank you, Mark for sharing this amazing story with us. Happy Blitz Day to you!

Sherry Ellis said...

Happy Blitz day! I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Normandy a few years ago. There's a definite somber feeling you get from standing on the grounds there. Almost like you can still feel the pain and terror the soldiers experienced on that fateful day!

Vicki Paulus said...

What a great post about such an important event in history. I hope Mr Ryan is able to visit you in Hawaii soon. By the way, Happy Blitz Day!

M said...

Wow. Gave me chills. Happy Blog Blitz . . . & D-Day.

~MPL
PepperWords

Sania Heba said...

Thanks for sharing. And congrats on being blitzed!! :)

Dee said...

Kamusta! What a wonderful piece of history. Happy blitz day!

Joan Stradling said...

It's awesome to have read this story. History is so much more real when given a personal glimpse like this. Bless all the veterans everywhere who sacrifice to keep us free!

Happy blitz day.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Incredible post, thanks for sharing! Happy Blitz Day! New follower :)

Zoe Byrd said...

June 6th is my dads birthday. He was 19 when he was shot on the beach in Normandy on his bday. Happy Blitz day!

Jessica Peterson said...

I imagine it must have been fun to interview and meet someone new, especially if you found them interesting. Happy blitz day! :)

Sheena-kay Graham said...

A great tragedy happened on that beach in Normandy. But many died so others could live and be free. Great story Mark, thanks for sharing.

Julie Dao said...

Happy blitz day, Mark!!! This is an extraordinary story. It gave me chills, reading about the two men who dragged him onto the shore.

Tami Von Zalez said...

Hooo rah! Consider yourself blitzed buddy ~

Excellent post.

thriftshopcommando.blogspot.com

LynnMarie said...

What an amazing story! Thank you for sharing? Enjoy your Blitz Day.

Tracy Campbell said...

Mark, thank you for sharing. :-)

Sue McPeak said...

An excellent post and share of the importance of remembering our War History and Heroes. 'Okay, Let's Go!!' by Ike...amazing and historical words spoken...wonderful that they were not forgotten and now through your post a memory passed on to so many.

A perfect post for a Blitz...Well Done!!!!

Sue CollectInTexasGal~Today's Post~
With This Ring

Lara Lacombe said...

Great post! Enjoy your Blitz!

Kate Larkindale said...

What a fantastic post! It's so important we don't forget these things as those who took part in them disappear.

Happy Blitz day!

My anxious life said...

You know we walk by people everyday and think nothing. Each person has a story to tell. Maybe amazing like this story or maybe not so amazing. But it is still their story. I try to remember that when I see people on the streets. Thank you for sharing.

Happy Blitz Day glad I found your blog. I would love to live in HI.

Angie

april said...

great article. I have never seen all of Saving Private Ryan. A lot of great information. Came by to say hi for the blog blitz

rachelrussell said...

What a great way to commemorate today. Happy Blitz Day!

Mama J said...

Amazing post. Thank you for sharing Bill's story with us.

Happy Blitz Day :-)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

A fabulous post. Thank you so much for sharing.

Happy Blitz Day!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

A fabulous post. Thank you so much for sharing.

Happy Blitz Day!

Cassandra Loskot said...

Beautiful post and tribute to veterans :) I loved when I was in the Air Force, and miss it often :) The military is a world like no other filled with wonderful people that you have instant connections with :)

Thank you for sharing :) I'm following your blog and Happy Blitz Day!!

Cassandra
http://closkot.blogspot.com/

John Harp said...

This is a great article!

Stopped by for the blog blitz, going to have to follow and read back for other interesting posts now.

Al Diaz said...

Nice tribute to veterans, Mark. And happy blitz! Couldn't miss it, even without internet connection. :)

Lisa said...

You really brought that history to life for me. Thanks.
Happy blitz!

http://lisathewordnerd.wordpress.com

Connie Keller said...

My mom was one of the many Dutch people who were liberated, though it was the Canadians who came to her town.

I'm still so thankful for all those who sacrificed so much.

(Happy Blog Blitz!)

Laura Eno said...

I love reading stories that touch you personally! He sounds like quite a man and I hope he finishes his book.

Happy Blitz Day!

Deborah said...

Wow. He's right, it is emotional. We are so very lucky there are men like him willing to deploy into places like that to allow us to enjoy the freedoms we do.

Thank you so much for sharing!

Corinne O'Flynn said...

What a wonderful tribute on such an important day. Thank you for your service, Bill.

Hello from the blog blitz.. funny... feels strange writing "blitz" on this post.

Corinne

Abby Annis said...

What an awesome tribute! Thanks so much for sharing. And Happy Blitz Day! I hope it's been a fabulous day! :)

madhaus burbed said...

Powerful stories, and what a day for you to be Blog Blitzed! (Although blitz here suggests air attacks rather than the huge D-Day invasion that Bill Ryan was part of.)

Thank you for recognizing his service and that of so many others.

madhaus
Burbed: SF Bay/Silicon Valley Real Estate, Housing, Mortgage & Bubble Price Insanity

Chippy said...

Fantastic post - I've always had an interest in D-Day as well as the preparation and deception operations leading up to it.

Happy Blog Blitz!

Chippy

Erin L. Funk said...

Thanks so much for sharing CSM Ryan's incredible story! These are the stories that need to be told, so future generations will know what was done to keep them free. I'm Canadian, but I have a lot of appreciation for the sacrifices of our American friends as well. Awesome post!

Hope you enjoy your Blitz Day!

Meredith said...

What an amazing tribute. Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful story!

carmenlamiarum said...

Happy Blitz Day! Excellent post!!!

Carolyn Brown said...

Excellent post Mark. I missed the blitz, but Happy Blitz Day, anyway!

Meredith said...

Oh, and happy Blitz Day :)

Theresa Milstein said...

Thank you for introducing me to CSM Ryan. Wow, what a story. And thank you for reminding me about D Day.

Melissa Bradley said...

Great story! What a remarkable man. There is apathy, I think because we are once again at war and when you're at war, people don't want to hear about past wars.

Very cool about your dad. I had several great uncles who fought. My dad was in Vietnam, my brother in Somalia and my cousin in Iraq.

raisingthecurtain.net said...

It's a great a story and so important that the first hand acounts and insights from our ageing veterancs are kept alive and disseminated. We're hopefully on a trip to Eurpoe to see the D Day beaches next year.

Happy Blitz Day.

Hunter Emkay said...

Happy Blitz Day.

Vet stories are always worthwhile, and I appreciate this one.

J. A. Bennett said...

Wow what an amazing story! So thankful for the soldiers who risk their lives to protect our country. beautiful reminder today. Thank you!!!

klahanie said...

Greetings Mark,

I shall use brevity in this comment. Powerful, moving and indeed, that inspiring man ends the video alluding to the fact that the youngsters these days in the armed forces are doing a wonderful job. And being in Britain, I'm acutely aware of what they do.

In peace,

Gary

S.A. Jones said...

I was led here due to a Blog Blitz; I stayed around for the tale.
What an amazing story. My grandfather fought as a member of the USN during WWII, and we are currently a military family. Hearing about the past is so inspiring. It's like we can look back and go, "Look at us. Look at America. Look at what we can do, and what we have overcome."
Thank you so much for sharing, and thank you to CSM Ryan for sharing this so very personal recount with us.

Teacher-Mom said...

Happy Blitz day! What a wonderful way to honor all veterans. Thank you for doing it.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Happy Blitz Day! Great article!!! Thank you for sharing!

kmckendry said...

Fantastic post Mark! And happy blog blitz.

Donna Smith said...

This was a great exchange, as was the previous post. Amazing opportunities!
Happy blitz day!

ayjay said...

What an amazing story! I am so glad DL sent us here for blitzing today!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

What a wonderful post Mark!! I'm so proud to call you cyber brother!

Sgt. Ryan- thank you..,from the bottom oft heart. Our country may very well be apathetic, but there are still plenty of us who revere true heroes! I live in WV and my niece is married during a soldier and she said when he is in uniform, he never pays for dinner here in WV...someone always picks up the tab and says thank you.

VR Barkowski said...

An amazing story and an incredible post, Mark. Thanks so much for sharing this. I visited the D-Day beaches in Normandy a couple years ago. Such a moving experience, it will be with me always.

So sorry to be late, I almost missed the the Blitz!

VR Barkowski

Cate Russell-Cole: Artios Communications said...

Mark, I hadn't discovered your blog before the blitz. You've got some amazing posts here. Thank you for sharing them. They are excellent and need to be read.

Best wishes.

Medeia Sharif said...

You highlighted an amazing man and an important part of history. I'm glad I read this. Happy blitz day.

farawayeyes said...

What a wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing the story and the other Private Ryan.

BTW, just in case you haven't noticed, you've been blitzed.

Nick Wilford said...

Hope you've enjoyed your Blitz! What a great post, and a true hero.

Carrie-Anne said...

This was a great post! My paternal grandpap was in D-Day, but I never really thought to ask him about his wartime experiences while he was still here.

mandycregan said...

Great to read this-- thanks for posting it-- and happy blitz!!

Suzanne Furness said...

A story that reminds us all of the sacrifices made.

Happy Blitz Day!

Heather Musk said...

Happy Belated Blitz Day!

Thank you for such a moving post. It always amazes me what these guys went through so that the rest of us could enjoy the lives that we do.
I hope they are never forgotten, and will do what I can to help keep their memories alive.

#1Nana said...

I'm a little tardy to the Blitz, but I think it's still the 6th in Hawaii! I never tire of hearing the D-Day stories. I have an uncle who flew in on a glider to secure the Pegases Bridge. He was one of the first allied troops to land. We owe a big debt to that generation. Great post to mark this anniversary.

Damyanti said...

That's a wonderful story...tho I'm a little late, you've been blitzed!

Gwen Tolios said...

Veterans are so important. Happy Blitz!

Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger said...

Fascinating stuff. Visiting from the blog blitz!

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Mark,
Inspiring post, and it's great that CSM Ryan is still doing his part to create more awareness of what is part of American history.

RE Hargrave said...

What an awesome tribute! Happy blitz day!

Kate said...

I'm so sorry that I missed the Blitz! But hopefully it's better late than never. I have a dear place in my heart for D day because it's my birthday. What an awesome tribute this post was.

Amanda said...

What an amazing story. Thank you for sharing with us.
"I send an email… and about a week later, a typed letter arrives at my door... which is awesome on many different levels." Yes, it is. :-)
I lost a day somewhere, but Happy Blitz Day!

Suzanne said...

Amazing story - and so important to remember our history.
Suzanne @Suzannes Tribe

Trisha F said...

I'm sooo late to the party (again), but I blame time zones and the fact that if I had posted ON the day in question when I was wanting to, I would have posted on the wrong pot :P

BUT I'm here to blitz you! And to say that this friend of yours sounds like an amazing man and very humble too.

Samantha Jones said...

An honorable tribute, Mark, to CSM Ryan and his incredible story of courage and sacrifice - him and his fellow heroes truly are the greatest generation - we could learn a great deal from them!
WriterlySam

Trisha F said...

I meant 'post', not 'pot'. urrgh, today is a bad day for typos.

Deniz Bevan said...

So happy that your blitz day fell on this date, otherwise I'd have missed this moving post. Thank you for sharing Private Ryan's story, and thank you to Private Ryan and all the heroes of D Day. *salute*

C. Lee McKenzie said...

I always appreciate any recognition of WWII veterans and events. My dad fought in that war, was wounded and decorated. I'm so appreciative of him and any of the others who did what they did.

Anne OConnell said...

Hi Mark,
I wanted to join the blitz (even though I'm a day late). What a wonderful tribute! I always get a lump in my throat when hearing about that day on the beaches of Normandy and say a prayer for those who serve, especially my own family members in the Canadian military (past and present).

Anne

Nancy LaRonda Johnson said...

Late to the party, but I'm also here to Blitz you! Thanks for introducing us to another honorable person who so valiantly served his nation. Writer’s Mark

Gwen Gardner said...

God bless our veterans! I'm the wife, daughter and mother-in-law of a vet. I love and respect them so much!

Happy Blitz Day!!!

Donna Hole said...

An incredible story of courage and sacrifice. Thank you for sharing CSM Ryan (and Private Ryan's) story with us today.

......dhole

~Brandy~ said...

I missed commenting yesterday, Mark, but managed to find my way here today! Sorry for the delay. What an incredible man CSM Ryan is. 3 wars is just - wow! I've heard that Saving Private Ryan is very realistic so it is nice to read it here and reiterate that fact. I hope *that* story of Bill's does get finished and published someday!

Brandy's Bustlings

Julie Luek said...

I love LOVE reading stories like this and talking with people who have lived to share their history. These voices will soon be gone. I'm so very glad you shared his story-- what an inspiration of courage and duty he displays. Thanks, mark.

Gina Gao said...

This is such a great story! It must have been a great interview.

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

The Words Crafter said...

I loved reading the articles and the video was great. So many miracles! I haven't ever watched the movie. I need to now.

Have a great weekend!

J Keith said...

I'm a day late but Happy Blitz day anyway! Awesome article!

Rachna Chhabria said...

What a super story. Loved reading it.

Kristen Dyrr said...

Sorry I'm a day late on blitzing, but Happy Belated Blitz Day!! :) This is such an amazing and wonderful piece. I really enjoyed it, and the choice of video clip. Really great stuff!

kayuk said...

What a great tribute to the men who fought for us. My uncle was a mechanic in the war and traveled with the troups repairing jeeps and tanks. He never talked much about it, other than to say that he was never clean. I think he would have liked to read this.

Ella said...

Sorry I am late! A lot going on with graduation~
This was a wonderful tribute! What a great story...thank you for sharing!
I am passing this on for hubby and some friends to see!
Thanks Mark :D
You did an amazing job

Elise Fallson said...

Another heartfelt post to some of the bravest people to ever serve. By deepest respect to CSM Ryan. Simply amazing. Makes me want to see the movie again. Glad you asked about the 1%.I really need to visit the beaches in Normandy. We're not that far from them. And how did I miss this post? Major fail on my part.

petedenton said...

Great post. I hope you enjoyed your blog blitz. :)

petedenton said...

Great post. I hope you enjoyed your blog blitz. :)

Rinelle Grey said...

99% right is pretty good. But guns not needing reloading is a pretty big 1%. Can change the tide of the war.

Loved the blog post. It's wonderful to find out about our history from the people who were really there.

clareodea.com said...

Thank you for introducing us to the other Private Ryan. I once chatted with a Polish woman who lived in Normandy around that time. Her father was a cobbler and she once hid in a haystack to avoid German soldiers. So many stories. A friend from the Alscace region of France said his grandparents' home was razed to the ground three times in their lifetime!
Nice to be introduced to your blog by DL Hammons.

Mary Hill said...

Hi,

Happy Blitz Day, a little late. I just got the notice. I joined your site and am glad I found it. You have some remarkable stories to share.

http://mary-anderingcreatively.blogspot.com/

KellieS said...

What an. Amazing story. Thank you so much for sharing. I love that he calls himself the "other Private Ryan".

Sorry I missed the blitz. It was my daughter's 21st bday. Cheers!

Mack Makatozi said...

Great post! God bless all our troops past and present

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mark .. it must have been a dreadful time for all the young men who were part of the DDay landings .. my father was there too - he never talked about it ...

Interesting to read with you about Major Ryan and to see those pictures of your 3 generations ..

Thanks for posting and I'm glad we still remember and revere those fighting men. Hilary

Miranda Hardy said...

Truly beautiful story, Mark!

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

What an incredible story. Thanks for sharing, Mark. I'm always amazed by the men and women who fought for us.

Morgan said...

I read this a couple days ago, but am delayed with my commenting... this is truly a beautiful post, Mark. Thank you for this. I LOVE stories like this.

And holy Alex... I'm comment number 170... !!!

Terri said...

Wow- this is an awesome post- thanks for sharing!

Nicole said...

Awesome! Just pure awesomeness. I absolutely love the chances to do interviews like this. And your point about the typed letter...yes, that's what it's all about. :)

Red Shoes said...

Good morning, Mark... thank you for stopping by my place and leaving the kind comment.

This is a wonderful and personal account of Pfc Ryan's landing on Omaha... those of us today can't imagine the Hell and Horrors that they confronted that morning and in the year that was before them. My late brother-in-law was at Omaha Beach that morning and later ended up at the Battle of the Bulge.

When I was a kid, he would talk about the war, but as he aged, I think that Hell and Horror caught up with him. My sister said she had to turn the tv off when the 50th anniversary was approaching because he would see it... start shaking... and would start crying.

I can't imagine.

Thank you for finding me throughJJ... he is one fine fellow!

~shoes~

Rob's Blog said...

Thanks mark! I love hearing about the birth of your father shortly after the liberation!

Lisa said...

Wow, that was quite a post. He was nineteen. It's so hard to think of most of them being that young. That was a GREAT wrap up at the end, with your father. Way to go!

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