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Normandy Academy

Students of the 2013 Normandy Academy class, organized by the National World War II Museum, completed assignments focused on the "fallen soldier." Below are some of their eulogies of American soldiers who fell during the war.

In memory of Capt. Bernard L. Mcgrattan 335th fighter squadron, 4th fighter group

A wise man once told me “True greatness is what you do with the hand you’re dealt.” ever since I first heard that quote, I’ve always had difficulty finding a real life example of it. However, I found what I consider to be the perfect example in a young man named Bernard Mcgrattan.

Frank J. Nicolei

Today I am honoring Frank J. Nicolei, a fallen soldier during World War II. Frank was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1924. He lived in Chicago for his entire life, attending his local grammar school and later working as a shipping and receiving clerk in Chicago. Later, in 1942, he enlisted in the military at the ripe age of 18, becoming a Technician Fourth Class in the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Without question, Frank was able to use his hard work he had used while working as a shipping and receiving clerk and apply it to the rigorous and arduous training for the military.

Frederick Fleming

Many of us will never know the fear, pain, and feeling of overwhelming anticipation that all those brave soldiers felt on June 6th 1944. No matter how many books, movies, or interviews we watch, we will never fully understand the impact of such an event on a human soul. Do not despair, however; there is something vital that we can do. Remembrance.

James D. Longnecker

In the early hours of June 6th, 1944, the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment nervously packed up their planes full of men and gear. The men knew their mission and had literally prepared for this moment for months. Near the small, beautiful, and peaceful waters of La Fiere Bridge, many hopes and dreams of these American Paratroopers were suddenly ended. Dreams never to be fulfilled, but certainly not forgotten. We remember the sacrifices of these soldiers and recognize the price of freedom.

Jordan R. Krummes

Unquestionable devotion, soaring bravery and a bond of brotherhood brought American soldiers of World War II to the front lines. They risked their hopes and dreams and dropped every plan to fight for the good of their country. I cannot express my gratitude toward the men who sacrificed everything for freedom 69 years ago in the sweeping country sides of Normandy on June 6, 1944 – D-Day. Here, today, we remember the lives of these such soldiers.

Russell Dillard

My soldier’s name was Corporal Russell Blair Dillard.  Dillard was a pathfinder in the 527th PIR of the 82nd Airborne.  His job was to jump in before the main assault force and mark the drop zones for the following paratroopers.  After landing, the 507th’s job would be to assist in capturing bridges such as the La Fiere or Chef du Pont bridges.  After the initial days of the invasion, the 507th would assist in cutting off the Cotentin Peninsula to seize Cherbourg.  It was during this attack that Dillard was killed on June 23, 1944.  During Dillard’s time in the Army, he received th

Theodore Gancarz

Often in studies of the Second World War, and events like the Battle of Normandy, the sheer scope of the conflict prevents us from digging deeper.  Figures of those wounded, captured, or killed become simply that: numbers, and we are unable to connect names to stories.  It requires more than a momentary pause to truly understand the depth contained in such short fragments.  These numbers represent individual men, many of them just boys, with names, hometowns, childhood memories, and rich, full lives that they led before volunteering for service and, out of a sense of duty and respo