Local high school students are planning on a visit to Europe to visit the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-mer
. Six amazing teenagers are working toward an invitation to volunteer at the 70th D-Day celebration. They are also hopeful to have local World War II veterans join them on their journey. They know that these veterans would also like to travel to the 70th D-Day celebration, but might hesitate to travel alone.
Through class events, the students have met and been inspired by these brave veterans who have since passed: Robert Patto
n, Vince Norako, and Tony Marimpietri. They heard what it was like to have the Allied soldiers liberate Paris from Chantal Shafrock, who was a teen in Paris at that time.
Since 2009 about 30 students have traveled to the American Cemetery in Normandy. They stayed with families in Liege, Belgium, but an important piece of history, sacrifice and honor was experienced when they walked Omaha Beach, visited the American Cemetery and imagined the effects of war at Pointe du Hoc.
This year’s group of six students, who are now juniors in high school (17 years old), would like to return to Normandy and volunteer to help with the 70th D-Day celebration. They are students who traveled in 2011 and who have a deep interest in honoring our veterans. These incredible young people have had relatives and close friends fight in World War II and another hopes to be a history teacher and travel abroad with students. All are doing very well in school, have achieved numerous honors, and speak French well.
C. V. Cummings Chapel Hill Post 6 is proud of these students and their teacher, Ms. Robin McMahon. They exemplify what the Veterans of Foreign Wars members looks for to recognize local students and educators who perform patriotic service in our community. We will be following the students’ quest as they continue to work on the details of this year’s planned trip and wish them well as they wait on the official invitation to this years historic 70th D-Day celebration.
Here is a UNC-TV video on a recent class trip to France.
Bravo Zulu is but one of the many signals made at sea from fleet and squadron commanders. It means “Well Done.” Navy signalmen hoisted the two signal flags or flashed the message between ships to be passed from ship to ship on the high seas. This is how messages were transmitted long before high-speed communications and when stealth or silence was necessary. One such day was D-Day and Signalman Third Class Bruce Martindale, a then recent graduate of Chapel Hill High School found himself signaling on a communications ship off the coast of Normandy. His memories of that action and his part in the invasion is now a book, A Naval Signalman During World War II.
Bruce Martindale recalls, “The plan was for the marines to be inland by the second day, but they were still in the process of trying to get off the beach they had gone in on. Word was received that we would start our invasion at 8:30 in the morning. As anyone can imagine, anticipation and anxiety were at their peak the night of the sixteenth. We could hear big guns and rockets firing all around, and the night sky was lit like day.”
Copies of his book is a must for military historians and navy veterans and are available from comrade Ed Gill. You can pick up a copy at our regularly scheduled monthly meeting. Cost for local veterans is just $8.00 and proceeds will go directly to Bruce Martindale. Learn more
Bruce Martindale has returned to and now resides in Chapel Hill.
Learn more about U.S. Navy Signal Flags.