Celebration of a Hero’s Too Short Life

July 4, 2017 is an Independence Day we will never forget.  That is why I chose it.  All eleven of the the family were in Cambridge UK at the American Cemetery  to celebrate the life of my oldest brother George, a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division,  who jumped in the early hours of June 6, 1944. He  was  wounded at the battle for La Fiere Bridge in Normandy, and died on the ship back to England.  He was 20 years young.  I was not born until two years after his death.    As the last of my immediate family, I feel a responsibility to pass this story of our family’s hero to my children and their children.  I heard the other day that it takes 3 generations to forget history.  I am doing all I can to insure that my grandchildren will both  know and remember our history.

I have quite a few tales to tell as I share the steps my family took starting in Normandy and then to Cambridge. I hope this will encourage each of my readers to keep their own   heroes   and everyday  family  members and their stories alive by  repeating tales to  family today, recording,  and preserving them  for the generations to come.

Peace

http://www.AParatroopersFaith.org     Visit  to learn more.

 

 

Posted in American history, family, history, service, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

D-Day Conneaut, Ohio

D-Day ConneautImage result for poster for D-Day Conneaut Ohio/2017

If you love history and want to learn more about this definitive battle of  WWII, I strongly recommend a visit.  In fact, we are going for our second year.  My friend Eric Montgomery, who was so  helpful in my journey  to get my brother George’s  record  “correct and complete” is one of the organizers.  If you are within driving distance, check it out.  It is all free  including parking, transportation  entrance with  a  only goodwill donations.  The re-enactors  can only participate with 100% authentic gear.  They also provide their own blanks for the battles. You will get to ride, for free, one of the  landing boats and land on the beach which is  ever so much like Omaha!
 
At the end of this schedule of events, I included part of the video of the  4 day battle for La Fiere Bridge where George was wounded. The bridge at Conneaut is so much like the original which you can see if you visit my preceding  post. The  difference is  the trees in Ohio.  Either way , you will be struck with the tiny bridge that was so important in history and where so many of our paratroopers were wounded or killed. 
 Here is an interesting fact about re-enactments .  They obviously have them in Normandy and even in the  United Kingdom, but  there are few if any participants  who wish  to buy and wear the Axis gear!  There is still much pain and history there that is   ingrained in their hearts and souls.  Our boys fought and lay down their lives for freedom over that  despicable fascism.
 We must make sure that fascism doesn’t raise its ugly head again from  either the extremists on the right or on the left.  
 

Click to download Map

2017 Event Brochure
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Conneaut Events
Around-Town

  

D-Day Conneaut returns August 17th-19th, 2017

Come help us celebrate the anniversary of D-Day and the invasion of Normandy France.
Now featuring Thursday Activities!

Join us, rain or shine, as we pull out all the stops!

Once again D-Day Ohio, Inc. will invade the Lake Erie shores of Conneaut, Ohio, and stage the largest  D-Day (1944) living history reenactment in the country. Featuring over 1,800 reenactors from across the US and Canada, spectators will witness men, women, and their machines perform a living tribute to the veterans of WWII through dress, mock battles, and living history displays. Meet the real men and women that lived through these times. Last year we were proud to host over 150 WWII veterans and hope to have even more this year.

Come and be a part of this Admission FREE event and experience what people call the most realistic and educational D-Day reenactment of the WWII era.

The event occurs within the beautifully kept grounds of Conneaut Township Park, in Conneaut, Ohio. Just off Interstate 90 (Exit 241), 5 miles west of the Pennsylvania border, Conneaut is just about half way between Cleveland Ohio and Erie Pennsylvania. There’s plenty of free parking with speedy shuttles.  *Entry is free but donations of any size are always appreciated as we are 100% funded by donations.

Though D-Day Conneaut is a very popular event, Conneaut Township park has plenty of room to comfortably stroll around and see amazing sites.(Be sure to check out the gallery). With an estimated reenactor attendance of over 1400 reenactors from all over the US and Canada, there’s little question why D-Day Conneaut has become the one of the largest WWII reenactment in the country.

Parking – No Onsite Parking

There is no onsite parking at the park. There are ample parking areas around town served by our speedy shuttles both Friday and Saturday.  There is no shuttle service on Thursday. (Parking is available Thursday only on side streets around the event.)

Mobility impaired persons and veterans of WWII-Vietnam can park at the CN Dock Company on Day Street, which a wheelchair accessible van will frequent approximately every 15-20 minutes.  Spectators can park at multiple lots around town. Watch for signs in town as you arrive for the most updated parking information, as some lots will close as they fill up quicker then others. See “Visitor Info” page for more details.

Schedule of Events

The D-Day Conneaut event now featured 2.5 days (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) of scheduled events and a movie under the stars on Thursday Night. Be sure to bookmark this page and check back from time to time to see any additions or cancelations.

Ashtabula County EMA
D-Day Conneaut attendees can get information before and during the event like detours, traffic incidents and emergency information specific to the D-Day Conneaut Reenactment by texting “Add” to 4402614470.   To remove themselves from the list, text “Remove” to 4402614470.


Georgie’s Gal will be back in 2017. 

Liberty Aviation Museum
High command has informed us that Liberty Aviation Museum’s Georgie’s Gal is scheduled to be back for 2017.

Heavy Artillery
This year, we have plenty of new surprises in store for everyone. Once again D-Day Conneaut calls in the “big guns” with plenty of heavy artillery to support our boys in action. Come witness the firing of some of the largest and most feared weapons of the time that proved instrumental and deadly to troops on both sides. 

Long range intelligence reports have indicated that many of our “show stoppers” from last year will once again return to join this great crusade along with some exciting new recruits.  Stay tuned for more information. This year we will once again feature the new Tank Battle on Friday afternoon.

Have a “big toy” and want to join the defense… or attack?
Please contact Betsy Bashore for info and availability.

 

2017 D-Day Conneaut

 

12:00PM – 4:00PM
The Villa at the Lake

Festivities will be Thursday August 17th from 12noon-4pm. Come join us for food, entertainment, music, giveaways and time period dress. Reenactors and time period vehicles are welcome to join us!
Stop by and meet and speak with some of the members of the “Greatest Generation”. You and they will be glad you did.
Villa at the Lake: 48 Parrish Road, Conneaut OH 44030

5:00-8:00 PM
Public Classic car Cruse-in
Join us on the beach for our Classic car cruse-in. Get up close and personal will all types of vehicles, civilian and military vehicles are welcome.

 

Official Schedule of Events
 Last updated May 8th, 2017.

Thursday Activities

There will be no shuttle service on Thursday. Parking is available on side streets around the park.

Click the times below to show/hide event details

Description: Join us for the opening of D-Day Conneaut 2017.


Friday Activities

Click the times below to show/hide event details

 

Description: Join us for the raising of the Storm Flag, signifying the beginning of D-Day Conneaut.

 

Saturday Activities

Click the times below to show/hide event details

 

D-Day Reenactors

Description: Opening Ceremonies of D-Day Conneaut 2014- 1st formation of Allied Forces and the raising of the US flag.

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Posted in American history, Britain, D-Day Conneaut Ohio, history, St-Mere-Eglise, Travel, Uncategorized, USA, WWII | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Beautiful Day in the Life of An Old Paratrooper

Here are Eric Labourdette’s  own words about his jump into La Friere Bridge zone in June 2017.   https://talesalongtheway.com/2017/08/11/eric-labourette-guide-extraordinaire/

” I wanted to jump to honor and remember the sacrifice of all those paratroopers who gave their lives  for our freedom.  I am an old paratrooper and a Navy Commando.  In May, I was at the jump school of round Canopy Parachute Team in le Havre in Normandy to jump.

After five jumps, I was a paratrooper of the RCPT and it was possible for me to jump during the first week of June.  I was in  ninth position in the stick in the plane.

And my landing was at the end of the drop zone not far from Cauquigny.  I noticed the noise and vibration of the engine. But no one was firing !  The jump master ordered, “Stand and hook up.”  My heart accelerated.  The American jump master jumped first.  I remember to see the ground when I crossed the door.  Checked the canopy.  It was fantastic to see the drop zone, La Fiere Bridge and the large visiting crowd I landed at the end of  the DZ.

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A grandfather was very close with his grandchildren.  They ran over asking to take pictures with me. I was proud and honored.  We took pictures with my M42 jacket of the 82nd Airborne.  I hope that those who died here can see that they are not forgotten.  This was a beautiful day in the life of an old paratrooper.

Live your dreams                                                                                                                                      Honor and remember

 

Eric ended, “This part of Normandy is a new star in your flag, God bless all those young soldiers who died in June of 1944.  ( Amen!  My affirmation with Eric’s prayer.)

Image may contain: airplane, sky, cloud and outdoor

 

 

Posted in American history, Eric Labourdette, France, history, paratooper, St-Mere-Eglise, Travel, Uncategorized, WWII | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

La Fiere Bridge

Image result for images of La Fiere Bridge

Our paratroopers had many challenges when they jumped early in the morning of June 6th beside the darkness, fog, and inclement weather.  The Germans had invaded France several years before so were familiar with the the ancient hedgerows which were confusing in navigation for the Allied troops. The paratroopers were scattered all over the landscape in orchards, town squares and in church steeples.   They had cricket clickers to use as  a signal in locating  their buddies.   The Germans had flooded the low land and  many paratroopers landed in the water, swamp , or marches.  The small, slow moving Le Merderet  River was  swollen 3 to 4 times its usual size and flow.

This tiny seemingly unimportant  bridge  was vitally important to the mission because the troops landing on the beach would need it for the march through France and ultimately to Berlin.

Battle raged for 4 days with a victory for the Allied forces but at a terrible cost in lives.

 

Next year, Dale Dyer will release  the first ever film about this battle.  It will be called “No Better Place to Die.” That comment  was said by an officer on site, but I can’t find a name.

Thus ended the fight for the causeway at La Fiére. Laced with individual stories of both heroism and faintheartedness, the tale, with all its confusion, error and misjudgment, shows human strength and frailty in all its diversity. History Net

“The battle for La Fiere Causeway is probably the bloodiest small unit struggle in the                          experience of American Arms. ”

60 men gave their lives and 529 would wounded in the four day battle June 6-9

My brother, Sgt. George B. Tullidge received a mortal hip wound while fighting to take the bridge.  He was given a direct soldier to soldier transfusion due to his  deadly loss of blood.

He was placed on a hospital  ship headed for the UK , but he  gave his life either on the ship or in the hospital on D-Day +2.  He was buried at Cambridge American Cemetery, a long way from Virginia and a long way from  his buddies buried in Normandy!

George willingly gave up his life for all of us and the freedom we have today.

“They willingly gave up their tomorrow                                                                                                 For our today!’

http://www.AParatroopersFaith.org    (Visit the website about my brother.

 

 

Posted in American history, Britain, France, history, St-Mere-Eglise, Travel, Uncategorized, USA, WWII | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

My Number One Favorite Rock Song–Music Monday

Image result for date of Hotel California

I love rock ‘n’roll!  Well you might say that is because that was the time  I was in high school and college.  And you would be right to some degree.   Funny thing is that I was much more into Simon and Garfunkle, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, and Peter Paul and Mary. These were among the artists who were the bridge between folk music and rock.  Funny, my taste has changed.

This is  the group I am choosing for my favorite song,   The Eagles with the founding member Glenn Frye and lead guitarist in the 70s. And my song choice is “Hotel California” which you can hear  below.

As always there are lots of opinions on what lyrics mean. I read that California is the microcosm of the US and it magnifies the success, attraction of excess  and pessimistic history of America all with the Eagles , the symbol of the US  warning us all.

For me it is the music  that is the most  compelling from the opening dualling   guitars .  The music is both edgy and laid back  with this new sound for the Eagles.  It is never in its 6 + minutes loud noise as much rock sounds to me.  The Eagle always make music.

Memorable lyrics from “Hotel California” :

“This could be heaven or this could be hell.”

“You can check out anytime you like but you can never leave.”

I would love to hear your responses and choices for your fave group and or song. . .  but it has to be rock ‘n’roll !

There is a documentary on Net Flex on The Eagles.  It is ok but just as you can imagine, sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll with rising success, argument  among the big dogs.  Pretty enjoyable but most of us know the story and have seen it before.

Posted in American history, artists, history, Rock'n'Roll, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday from Buca Di Beppo’s

Katie and Henry have  birthdays in August and today seemed the perfect opportunity to celebrate .  At the last minute Chris and his family were unable to join us and we missed them  but  a good time was had by all.  Henry is very happy with his new banjo and Katie got a McKenzie -Child’s cake plate and the proverbial   card!

For years, David refused  to enter a Buca di Beppo and I thought it was because of  the tasteless tacky plastic flowers.  Now he loves it  and looks forward to our family outings.  We are seated in the Pope room with a large lazy Susan in the center of the table with a bust of the current Pope Francis.  The food is  simple Italian cooked well if not imaginatively.  Maybe that is a good idea anyway as it is  hard to mess up simple Italian food.   The meal is served family style and the Lazy Susan comes in handy.

The decor is  pictures, many humorous plates, and anything that can be held on the wall, from the floor to ceiling.  Many tasteless tacky pictures are  of Rome and all of Italy.  The decorations in the bathrooms are naughty to say the least.  There is a fountain with a naked  cherub and fountain is filled with water from his penis.  This always gets  many giggles. The plastic flowers are still in boxes outside and inside, but somehow you get used to them.

We have decided Buca di Beppo  has  the tasteless tacky side of the Italian culture down to  to a science and  it is fun, good service, solid Italian cooking, fun  for the kids and I don’t have to cook.  Try it for a group or family celebration and ask ahead for the Pope table. It is very popular and usually only for groups of 11 or 12. After all our time in Rome we love the memories of seeing the pictures and enjoying the food!

 

Celebrate with the Pope

Pope Francis in his place of honor.

Image result for images of buca di beppo

Image result for images of buca di beppo

Bring your appetite or bring the leftovers  home for later !

Posted in Buca di Beppo, family, food, Italian, Pope Francis, Travel, Uncategorized, USA | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eric Labourette, Guide Extraordinaire

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Our sightseeing days in Normandy were Saturday and Sunday which made it possible to have Eric Labourdette available to  be our guide.  On our visit  in 1999 , we had no guide.  All we saw was St-Mere-Eglise , the Airborne Museum,  Utah, and Omaha beaches which we walked through in  the pouring rain.  Even in the  idyllic pastoral site, there is so much history, so many stories , I would strongly recommend a guide.  Eric is not a professional guide.  He is a retired medic/ paratrooper  from the French Army  and  now uses his training to work in the emergency room of a local hospital. It worked out perfectly as he was off those two days and he enjoys guiding visitors especially military tourists.  He was contacted by my internet Dutch friend Thulai van Maanen and he agreed to lead us the two days of our visit.

Now you might remember, there were 11 of us including 5 active children from ages 7-15.  Eric was very patient with the children and low key with the adults.  He would explain the site, make suggestions, suggest a time to exit,  and then answer  questions.  He followed our lead unlike some bossy, distant  guides we passed on the route.

Our decision before arrival was to make a plan.  I deferred to Thulia and asked her recommendation.   She also leads groups to explore Normandy, but was unavailable the time we were there.  She was one of the many people I feel God lead me  to in planning for this trip, the right person, at the right time. . . Eric was one of those people, too! We also decided that since time was short, we would only go to the American Sector. My plan he is to give you the itinerary in case there are those of you who  may which the information for a visit you may be planning.  In following posts,  I will tell you a little of what we learned.

Day 1  Utah Beach Sector

La Fiere Bridge

St-Mere-Eglise

Utah Beach

Dead Man’s Corner

Azeville Stronghold

One  place on the list but we didn’t visit was:

Brecourt Manor (filmed in Band of Brothers)

To let you know what troopers we all were in this process, both days we were out and about doing the tourist  death march  for about 10 hours!  Eric, the kids, the grown children,  and David and me .  It was obvious that they were interested in most of what we saw which made me happy because I want them to “remember” far into the future.

Tomorrow, we will visit La Fiere Bridge on the edge of St-Mere-Eglise.

Image result for images of landscape in Normandy

Image result for images of landscape in Normandy

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The holy ground of Utah Beach.

 

Posted in American history, France, history, St-Mere-Eglise, Travel, Uncategorized, WWII | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Musee Airborne

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My Mama would always say that George’s picture was  in the Airborne Museum in St-Mere-Eglise.  When we visited the first time in 1999, I looked for the familiar picture.  I found it but was shocked that he was just one of thousands of unnamed paratroopers.   This was the beginning of my journey. . . . I wanted to ensure that his story would be complete and correct into perpetuity.  What better place to begin our family trip to Normandy and then to Cambridge American Cemetery was St-Mere-Eglise where George’s and my journey began.
Image result for images of airborne museum
Image result for images of airborne museum
Across the village square from the Musee Airborne, is this little church .  The dramatic entry into the village on D-Day  is immortalized with the parachute and manikin.
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This is a tangible memorial to John Steele who was caught on the church roof when he parachuted into St -Mere -Eglise  on the early morning on June 6, 1944.   John hung there limply pretending to be dead  before he was captured by German soldiers.  Steele survived and during his life visited this site many time, always hailed as a hero by the people in the town.  They never forgot  with love and appreciation that St.-Mere-Eglise was the first French village liberated by our heroes, of whom John Steele is one.
Posted in France, history, Musee Airborne, St-Mere-Eglise, Travel, Uncategorized, WWII | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments