Sadly I received an email Wednesday that I've dreaded for some time.
|Private Bill Ryan, 1945|
|Bill, 2013 (Credit & Full Bio: Xav Van Daele)|
In his honor, my last post about Bill, (June 6, 2014,) is reposted below the Tennyson poem.
Rest In Peace, Command Sergeant Major Ryan. You were truly one of the founding members of the Greatest Generation.
Crossing the Bar
by Alfred Lord Tennyson
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
Seventy years ago today, the Allied invasion of mainland Europe began - and D-Day became an instant part of our global history.
From the 156,000 men who stormed the beaches or parachuted into enemy territory, I have the honor of calling one D-Day veteran a friend.
|U.S. Army Command Sgt. Major (Ret.) William "Bill" Ryan (2006)|
U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major (Ret.) William “Bill” Ryan is a sprightly 89, but he lives in Melbourne, Fla., and I'm out here, so
I hadn't heard much from Bill this past year.
I was a little worried...
...and then, yesterday, I saw this picture (#17 of 31) on a Yahoo! slideshow...
|(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)|
Command Sgt Major Retired Bill Ryan, who landed at Omaha Beach 70 years ago tomorrow, kisses a young French boy at a ceremony honoring the First Infantry Division above Omaha Beach June 5, 2014 in Colleville-sur-Mer, France.)
My first reaction?
Talk about making my day... I punched the air in absolute and pure delight.
"You bloody well did it, Bill! You made it to the 70th anniversary!!"
back in Normandy many times, but had told me on numerous occasions that the 70th would be the last big "hurrah" for many of the remaining WWII veterans.)
PS: On D-Day last year, I shared Bill's story. If interested, click HERE.
PPS: Want to hear from Bill himself? Check out this 2-min YouTube video (from 2012.)
A sincere and heartfelt thanks to you, and all your mates who made it home.
Like so many others, I hold dear the memories of
all those who paid the ultimate price.
We will never forget.