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.
Private Jordan R. Krummes was born and raised in Solano County, California. Life in Solano revolved around the farming businesses of the Bay Area, near San Francisco. He attended his local high school and just after graduation, at 19 years old, he enlisted into the military in Fresno, California in 1943. As a patriotic young man, he was more than willing to give up the carefree life of a small town boy and assume the hardships of a soldier.
After enrollment, he joined the 29th Infantry Division of the 116th infantry regiment. Most of his fellow soldiers were from the east coast, especially Virginia. He crossed the country by train and the sea by ship, and joined the rest of the 29th in Britain. The move from the sunny California coast to sleepy British villages was no doubt a shock to Jordan, but after weeks of travel in ships filled to the brim, with little to eat and nothing to do, life in rural England was a dream to the boys of the 29th. The girls were pretty, the drinks were cheap and the music was always playing. Undoubtedly, Jordan had a tough time fitting in with the boys who had already formed brotherly bonds, but they warmed up to him over time. Through tough training and challenging drills, the soldiers formed friendships that could stand strong in the hardest of times.
On the fateful morning of June 6, 1944, he joined his comrades for the last time on the USS Empire Javelin, which carried him across the English Channel to Omaha Beach, in Normandy France. He and the rest of the 29th were to storm the beach and capture Vereville for the Allies. This young man took his and his peers’ lives into his hands as he mustered the courage and gathered his strength in preparation for the moment when his boot was to hit the sand.
I do not know if Jordan R. Krummes was hit by a German bullet, or if he drowned in the unforgiving waters, but I do know that he proudly gave his life for his country. Without question, as soon as he stepped off the Higgins Boat, he forgot his orders in a frantic struggle to save his own and his brothers’ lives. His sacrifice brought us all here today, and it is what has allowed us to stand where we are standing. If it were not for men like Jordan R. Krummes, we would not have the promise of freedom and democracy, liberty for all. Walking on the soft sand of Omaha beach and feeling the gentle waves on my feet reminds me of all that this man gave up that fateful morning. It is an honor to be here and to see the very ground he walked almost seventy years ago, and I ask that we all remember the struggle of one young California farmer, Jordan R. Krummes.