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A Life of Service – “This One Is Captain Waskow” –Ernie Pyle, 1944

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Captain Henry T. Waskow

U.S. Capt. Henry T. Waskow

Great Unknown American Series

On this Memorial Day weekend a sobering but inspiring reminder of the price paid by hundreds of thousands of American military personnel during WWII, an account of the death of U.S. Capt. Henry T. Waskow written by the famous war journalist Ernie Pyle on December 14, 1943, during the Battle of San Pietro Infine, Italy. Capt. Waskow was twenty-five years old. The account offered by The Library of America is a testament to both Capt. Waskow and Ernie Pyle who would perish sixteen month later in battle on Ie Shima, a small island near Okinawa.

We should never forget and eternally be grateful for the sacrifice of those Americans three score and ten years ago for our liberties.

“And, most poignantly, Capt. Waskow had written a widely quoted letter intended for his family on the event of his death. The opening and closing passages offer advice for those of us still living. ”

If you get to read this, I will have died in defense of my country and all that it stands for—the most honorable and distinguished death a man can die. It was not because I was willing to die for my country, however—I wanted to live for it—just as any other person wants to do. It is foolish and foolhardy to want to die for one’s country, but to live for it is something else.

To live for one’s country is, to my mind, to live a life of service; to—in a small way—help a fellow man occasionally along the way, and generally to be useful and to serve. It also means to me to rise up in all our wrath and with overwhelming power to crush any oppressor of human rights. . . .

Try to live a life of service—to help someone where you are or whatever you may be—take it from me; you can get happiness out of that, more than anything in life.

Read the full article by Ernie Pyle, A Project by the Library of America, Click >>HERE:
http://storyoftheweek.loa.org/2011/05/one-is-captain-waskow.html

 

The bombed-out center of the town of San Pietro Infine

The Battle of San Pietro Infine (commonly referred to as the “Battle of San Pietro”) was a major engagement from 8–17 December 1943, in the Italian Campaign of World War II involving Allied Forces attacking from the south against heavily fortified positions of the German “Winter Line” in and around the town of San Pietro Infine, just south of Monte Cassino about halfway between Naples and Rome. The eventual Allied victory in the battle was crucial in the ultimate drive to the north to liberate Rome.The Battle of San Pietro Infine –Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_San_Pietro_Infine

 
 
 
Worth watching, (32 minutes) “The Battle of San Pietro: Documentary 1945 produced by the U.S. War Department with John Huston. Dramatic film footage from the battle, the town of San Pietro and its people. A reminder of the nature of the forces of the time fighting for acendency, freedom and liberty against subjugation and tyranny. An unearthly upheaval of Western Civilization that ravaged the majority of Europe and portions of Africa, the Near East and Asia. Watch full screen for best view.

 


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