Honor & Respect (Normandy American Cemetery) – D-Day June 6 1944 – by Jeffrey Worthington & iHistory WW2 Video Contest

By: Jeffrey Worthington & iHistory WW2

Normandy

Three years ago today I was privileged to be on the beaches of Normandy for the ceremonies commemorating the 66th anniversary of the landing of the American and Allied forces on D-Day.  It was humbling to stand among the men who fought to give freedom to others.  Men who risked everything to free an entire continent that was under the oppression and persecution of Nazi Germany.

One thing I will never forget at Normandy was seeing how respectful the French were by adopting the headstones of fallen American soldiers.  It was a tradition started  almost immediately after the D-Day invasion in June 1944 – local families made sure that each soldier’s grave near their village was tended to.  That tradition has been handed down through the generations, and is continued to today.

Normandy
These photos are candid pictures of a French family paying their respects to a fall soldier, and teaching the next generation to do the same.
Normandy
Traditionally French families tend the grave sites of soldiers who died fighting near their home or village.

The family brought small bags of sand from Omaha beach and had each boy rub the sand on the headstones they visited in order to view the solder’s names more clearly.  Then they placed flowers in front of the headstones and took a picture of the boys, before moving on to honor another fallen hero.

Normandy
Young boys posing briefly for a picture by the headstone of an American soldier.

I candidly observed this ritual being repeated throughout the afternoon.  Many other grateful French families were also there paying their respects to the men who paid the ultimate price for their freedom.

PFC Richard Kunkel, New York. Killed in action June 6, 1944.
Richard Kunkel (PFC, 501st Parachute Infantry Regt, 101st Airborne Division) of New York was killed in action June 6, 1944, in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. He was posthumous awarded a Purple Heart.

Since the French haven’t forgotten the price of their freedom, I pray that we as Americans  never will either.  Yet today, a growing percentage of youth lack basic knowledge about WWII or Hitler’s atrocities.  Help us change this by passing along the legacy of the Greatest Generation by spreading the word about the iHistory WW2 video contest for today’s junior high and high school students!

SONY DSC

And remember to thank a veteran… they’re often disguised as retired businessmen,  volunteers, Wal-Mart greeters, and great-grandparents.  For more information, visit the iHistory WW2 website or contact me directly at jeff@ihistoryproject.org

The Hero Next Door- By Jeffery Worthington- iHistory WW2 Video Contest

By Rachel MartinJeff Worthington, and iHistory WW2

You have probably talked to a hero this week and didn’t even realize it.

Heroes aren’t just the guys in red capes, or the super stars with multi-million dollar incomes. Rather, heroes take all forms – like the elderly man slumped in his chair at the nursing home, the Wal-Mart greeter who proudly wears his veterans hat, or Great-Uncle Carl, who always plays checkers with you when you visit Grandma at Christmas. World War II veterans are among our nation’s finest heroes. Risking everything, they sacrificed much to fight for freedom.

Courage

This week, we celebrate one of the most prominent displays of heroism in WW2. On June 6, 1944, more than 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed when troops landed in Normandy, France. The plan was to surprise the German armies and gain a foothold in the area. Even though thousands lost their lives, the maneuver was ultimately successful. Over 100,000 troops began the march through Europe – a march which led to the ultimate defeat of Hitler.

Sacrifice

These courageous heroes risked and sacrificed their lives without the spotlight of fame or the glory of reveling in victory, and no guarantee of return.

There’s a chance you have a hero next door. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet a WWII veteran and tell others his or her story. Join the iHistory WW2 video competition and share his or her story with the world.

Join us on Facebook to follow the latest news and join the conversation as we salute veterans.
For more information, visit iHistory WW2 or contact me directly at jeff@ihistoryproject.org.

Yes Sir, General Patton, Sir! by Jeffrey Worthington, iHistory Project-WW2

What would a brash, determined old horse soldier do when he was told he couldn’t accomplish a seemingly impossible mission??  If that trooper was General George S. Patton, Jr., he’d call on his best units to get the job done. When his impossible task was to relieve the 101st Airborne at Bastogne, Patton called on the 4th Armored Division, Bob Eamello’s division, to help get the job done.

Bob Eamello grew up in the Great Depression.  He, like so many in his generation, already knew deprivation and personal sacrifice.  As a boy, he recalled, he would climb cherry trees and apple trees to find food and a meal of rabbit, squirrel and even an occasional blackbird was welcomed fare.  Maybe the hardships of youth prepared him for what was ahead.

Preparations ended for Bob Eamello shortly after the D-Day landings on the Normandy beaches.  The following month he and his comrades blazed a mechanized trail across Europe that ultimately brought him face to face with George Patton, himself.  Along the way Bob ran headlong into fighting against some of the fiercest fighters of the war, the famed and feared Panzer Armies.  When he recalled his meetings with Patton, Bob recalled that the only words any soldier needed, when addressing the general, was “Yes Sir!”  Bob and his brothers in arms marched with Patton to Bastogne, relieving the beleaguered 101st Airborne and helping to secure the Allied victory in the Battle of The Bulge.

The March to victory for Bob Eamello and the 4th Armored Division was never easy.  They helped liberate the Buchenwald death camp; looking into the faces of those who suffered at the hands of absolute evil.  They endured the bitter winter of 1944-1945 and they felt the loss of all who perished in freedom’s name.  Recalling the last day of the war, Bob said it was the day the men of the 4th Armored Division met their Russian and Czech allies.  “The captain yelled “quit fighting.”  It was over.  Speaking with a voice that still reverberates with profound relief, Bob said: “It was the best day of the war.”

Bob Eamello’s story is his own.  Each serviceman and every servicewoman has a story that is shared with others but is still personal and unique.  In their own personal stories, they all said “Yes Sir” just as Bob did when he stood toe to toe with General George S. Patton, Jr.

I hope you will support me (and hundreds of World War 2 enthusiasts and volunteers around the world) in challenging American teens across America, who are interested in military history, to participate in the iHistory Project-WW2.  We are committed to preserving these great World War 2 stories and memories and to bringing them to life so future generations will understand and appreciate the events of this conflict and how they shaped our world.

For more information, visit the I-History Project-WW2 or contact me directly at jeff@ihistoryproject.org

Roosevelt’s Infamy Speech – Pearl Harbor – December 8, 1941 – By Jeffrey Worthington & iHistory Project

By: Jeffrey Worthington & iHistory Project

One day after the Empire of Japan’s attack on Hawaii and Pearl Harbor, the United States President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, delivered this speech to a Joint Session of Congress.  The speech is best known for the line “December 7, 1941… a date which will live in infamy.” Unfortunately many students today do not know what happened at Pearl Harbor that day.

But there is something you can do to help educate today’s teens by getting them to learn out nations history from the people who were there… before it is too late. Roughly a 1,000 World War II veterans die everyday. The New York Times said that by 2020 there won’t be any left at all.

Please visit http://www.ihistoryprojectww2.org to see how you can help in your community!

If you have any questions or need more information please visitor our website iHistory Project: WW2 or contact me directly at jeff@ihistoryproject.org

UPDATE: iHistory Project is now officially a non-profit! – By Jeffrey Worthington & iHistory Project

By: Jeffrey Worthington & iHistory Project

Hey Everyone!

I’m very happy to announce that we recently received our 501c3 non-profit status!  We, at the Worthington Foundation are very excited for what this means in the coming months!  Thank you for your support over the years.   We started the iHistory Project back in 2009 and it has been quite a journey.

When we started the iHistory Project, in the Fall of 2009, we looked to partner with other non-profit organizations in order to save the time of having to file to become 501(c)(3) ourselves, but because of the economic down turn, most organizations were not taking on new projects.  So in June 2010, we hired a paralegal, who came highly recommended and whom we had worked with previously, to file our own 501(c)(3) application.  Unfortunately, he led us on a wild goose chase for 18 months.  He took our money and, to the best of our knowledge, he’s residing in Europe.  It was mid-2011 before we realized that he was not doing the work he had claimed.  This was confirmed a few months later when the IRS said that he had never contacted them on our behalf.  Needless to say, that was devastating news.

It took a few months for us to untangle the mess he left behind.  So, in January 2012, we again began the process of applying to become non-profit organization.  However, this time was with a reputable company, thus, we are glad to report that in October, 2012, we (the Worthington Foundation) finally received our 501(c)(3) non-profit status!

Preserve our World War II veterans’ history while bridging the generational gap with today’s youth.  Spread the word about the iHistory Project with your family, friends, and teachers, via Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Remember to download our flyer (Click Here)!

For more details on how to get your teens involved with our iHistory Project, go to our website: www.Heroes-WW2.org

Talk again soon.

Jeffrey Worthington

Worthington Foundation

Project Director (iHistory Project)

Remembering the D-Day Landing At Normandy – June 6, 1944 (Part 2)

Utah Beach, Normandy, France

“They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest—until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violence’s of war.”

Paratroopers reenacting the D-day jump on location just outside of Saint Mere Eglise, France (2010).

“For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.”  – President Franklin D. Roosevelt — June 6, 1944

Remember to thank a veteran… they’re often disguised as a Wal-Mart greeters, volunteers, and grandparents.  For more information, visit the iHistory Project-WW2 or contact me directly at jeff@ihistoryproject.org

Remembering the D-Day Landing At Normandy – June 6, 1944 (Part 1)

A year ago today I was privileged to be on the beaches of Normandy and in Sainte-Mère-Église for the ceremonies commemorating the 66th anniversary of the landing of the Allied forces on D-Day.  It was amazing to stand next to the men who fought to give freedom to others.  Men who risked everything to free an entire continent that was under the oppression and persecution of the Nazis.

Your sacrifice will never be forgotten.
Omaha Beach
Utah Beach
Looking out over the English Channel.

For some reason, due to Hollywood movies I suppose, I’d always envisioned Omaha, Utah, and Sword beach being relativity small.  I never thought that our soldiers had to, in some cases, run upwards of 200 yards across open sand.  Honestly, it was a miracle that we were able to take the beach at all.

(Click to see large photo)

For those men who did manage to make it across the beaches, they faced the challenge of breaching numerous layers of German defenses.  Even though Hitler had put most of his efforts into defending the coastline near Calais (about a 125 miles North East), the beaches of Normandy still formed a deadly obstacle for the American soldiers.

German defenses.
While under heavy enemy fire, the American soldiers had to push their way through the German defenses.

Unfortunately, many of our men paid with their lives.

Many paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Normandy cemetery is among the most beautiful and revered cemeteries in the world.

Honoring those who fell.
Reflecting on the cost of freedom.

The most moving thing for me during my visit to Normandy was learning of that the French have adopted fallen American solder’s headstones.  Almost immediately after the D-Day invasion of June 1944 – local families made sure that each soldier’s graves was  tented to.  That tradition has been handed down through the generations, and is continued to today.

These photos are candid pictures are of a French family paying their respects, and teaching the next generation to do the same.

French family.

They placed flowers and brought sand from Omaha beach for each boy to rub on the headstones they visited.

Showing appreciation is passed on to the next generation.

Posing briefly for a picture for the boys grandparents for a picture and moved on to honor another soldier.  I candidly observed this ritual repeated through out the afternoon.  Many other grateful French families were also there paying their respects to the men who paid the ultimate price for their freedom.

The young boys posing for a picture.
Your sacrifice will never be forgotten.

If the French will never forget the price of freedom, I pray that we as Americans we never will either.  I believe the iHistory Project: WW2 should be in every American high school.  So please, help spread the word by sharing this website with your local teachers, home school groups, and church groups.  Thank you.
The iHP: WW2 is important in keeping the relevance of defeating Hitler and the Axis powers so that history will not be repeated.
And remember to thank a veteran… they’re often disguised as a Wal-Mart greeters, volunteers, and grandparents.  For more information, visit the iHistory Project-WW2 or contact me directly at jeff@ihistoryproject.org