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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Remembering the 10th Mountain Division US Army as V-E Day approaches

As the world prepares to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, I would like to share a few photos of the 10th Mountain Division from WWII. They arrived in Italy in December 1944 and soon were fighting the Germans for Riva Ridge, Mt. Belvedere and terrain north from there to Lake Garda, Italy.
I hope those surviving today  are healthy and happy on this 70th anniversary.



 
 


In TWILIGHT OF MEMORY my hero, a soldier in the 10th Division, 86th Regiment, was gravely wounded in the Riva Ridge/Mt. Belvedere fighting. He spent almost three months in a coma. Thus, he was unaware when the fighting ceased. Here is an excerpt from several weeks later when, after regaining consciousness, he learned of the end of the war and other world events he had 'slept' through. Henry is being cared for in an Italian Villa by English and Italian medical personnel. He has asked his English nurse Daisy to tell him about the end of the war and his Division.

Henry is speaking: "Tell me about the end of the war.  I feel like I must be the only person on earth who doesn’t know that. It makes me feel foolish and somewhat useless.”

“You are not foolish, nor useless. Henry, you have been unconscious, which Dottore Antonio says is a good thing because it let your brain and your body heal. He did not rush to wake you.”

“I know, but I’m not sure I like that,” he said somewhat sullenly.
 
“Be quiet, dear. You won the war.”
 
“Not me."
 
"Yes, you and every other Allied warrior..." 
 
“Now back to your concern for your unit. As Dottore said, your mates, and others too, can’t let you guys have all the credit, chased the Germans North to Lake Gardo. There the Germans that your Division had been pursuing surrendered. Dottore learned they would only surrender to your General or someone from your Division, because they said the 10th Division was full of mighty warriors.”

“That’s true,” said Henry, “except for me, ” Henry remarked again.

“Henry, you said you could accept things that you cannot change. So accept this. You were severely wounded, almost mortally. You suffered from battle wounds and from a direct gunshot to the head. That you lived is a miracle from God. Think of those who did not live but who were on that mountain with you. Yes, there were many. Does their death make them less heroic? No, I thought not. Neither do your wounds. Now, stop belittling yourself and listen quietly. There is more.”

She looked him directly in the eyes and said, “Your president is dead.”

A startled Henry looked at her. “What? President Roosevelt is dead? How? When? Was he murdered by some sniveling coward?”

“No, sweetheart. He was sitting quietly, posing for a portrait I believe, and he died of natural causes. I believe it was a cerebral hemorrhage. They are nasty things. Nothing could be done for him.”

“Oh, my,” said Henry softly. He was quiet for a moment as was Daisy. Finally he said, “So that makes, who, ah…, Harry Truman our president.”

“Yes, I think that is who Dottore said.”

“This is all too much to understand. I feel like Rip Van Winkle.”

“Who?”

Shaking his head Henry replied. “Never mind. He wasn’t real. I take it this is all real.”

“Very real, but there is one more thing.”

“I don’t know if I want to hear it,” Henry replied.

“Yes, I think you might. Hitler is dead. He killed himself.”

Henry let out a breath but said nothing for a moment. Then he looked at Daisy and, thinking of the Yamamotos, asked, “What about the Emperor of Japan?”

“Ah, Japan,” Daisy sighed. “Japan still fights. The war is over in Europe, but not in Japan. It should end soon. Everyone is expecting them to surrender, but they have not done so yet.”
 
Available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon (US), Amazon (UK), and Amazon (IT). US edition:
 
Also, check out my Pinterest board on the 10th Mountain Division and Twilight of Memory.
Don't forget to watch the musical tribute to the 10th Mountain Division        http://www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3D4tJCjLtlybU

    



2 comments:

  1. I remember reading about the 10th mountain and seeing some programs about it on TV. Since they arrived six months before the end of the war, they weren't in it long, but the fighting they did was intense.

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    1. You're right, Chuck. For such a short time, their numbers were startling. I fell in love with them. If you haven't watched the youtube video American Anthem in memory of the 10th, I think you would enjoy it. Thanks for your reply.

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