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

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)

Celebrating Flag Day – By Jeffrey Worthington, iHistory Project-WW2

By – Jeffrey Worthington, iHistory Project

Jeffrey Worthington - iHistory Project - Flag Day
Honoring our nation's flag. Photo by Jeffrey Worthington 2011

Today, in 1775 America’s army was born.  Now we celebrate it as our countries Flag Day.  Our flag has seen many wars and many trails, great depressions and abundant times of prosperity.  It still stands for the freedom our forefathers came here to find.  We at the iHistory Project wish to honor all those who have and who are currently  serving to defend those freedoms.

Remember to come back to our blog for more updates!  For more information, visit the I-History 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

Announcement

D-Day Landing - June 6, 1941

Big announcement everyone!

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we are delaying the submission dates until early Spring 2012.  We will be making more announcements and providing more details about the contest in August.  We will also be posting public domain B&W footage from World War II for you to use in your mini-documentary.

If you have already interviewed a WWII veteran, we ask for you patients during this additional waiting period.  Believe me, we have done everything possible to prevent a second delay.

This Monday, June 6th, marks the anniversary of the landing of the Allied forces at Normandy, France.  I hope you can make the time to thank a WWII veteran!

Remember to come back to our blog for more updates!  For more information, visit the I-History Project-WW2 or contact me directly at jeff@ihistoryproject.org

“We had to clear the German snipers” D-day – (June 6, 1944)

Interviewing Claude Hobbs - D-Day veteran

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing an amazing gentleman and war hero, Claude Hobbs.  He was supposed to be in one of the first waves of men to land on the beaches of Normandy in the early morning of June 6, 1944, but his landing craft hit a mine while crossing the English channel, forcing the men to transfer to a different assault craft.  At 14:00 hours, he finally landed on Omaha beach.  Armed with a rifle and a handful of grenades, he and his men started clearing the beach of German snipers, allowing the Allies to begin bringing heavy equipment on shore to commence the liberation of Europe.

Hobbs, like many WWII veterans, is a humble man.  He was awarded numerous medals including a Bronze Star for action during the Battle of the Bulge.  He has also been nominated to receive our nation’s third highest honor, a Silver Star, yet he hasn’t gone to Washington DC to claim it.  Instead, his favorite thing is to volunteer at a local museum every Saturday and chat with other old timers.

Unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer of Hobbs’ generation.  That is why I need your help to spread the word to your local high schools about the iHistory Project: WW2, so that this Fall hundreds and thousands of students around the country will begin interviewing WWII veteran on video.

To find out more about the iHistory Project’s YouTube competition and how you can help, please visit our website: www.Heroes-WW2.org or contact me directly at jeff@ihistoryproject.org