History of D-Day: 80 Years Ago

D-Day

HISTORY OF D-DAY Why has D-Day captured the imagination of American consciousness for over three-quarters of a century?   Eighty years ago, on June 6, 1944, the Allies launched an offensive on the Normandy coast of France to liberate continental Europe from the Nazi German occupation. On Twitter/X, the hashtag is #DDay80 D-Day was the…

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History of Memorial Day: Why We Fight

John Petro, S.Sgt

HISTORY OF MEMORIAL DAY: WHY WE FIGHT As we celebrate Memorial Day, the world is different from what it was two decades ago. We have troops in countries that we didn’t have then, and after 9/11, we now remember why we fight. The History Channel often re-runs the HBO series Band of Brothers, the TV…

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History of Memorial Day: Which War?

Arlington

HISTORY OF MEMORIAL DAY: WHICH WAR? Memorial Day was not universally recognized as a shared American Holiday until after World War I. But that’s not how it started in the United States. When did it begin?   Civil War and Memorial Day Following the American Civil War, or the “War Between the States,” as it…

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History of VE-Day: End of WWII in Europe 79 Years Ago

front page ve day

HISTORY OF VE-DAY Seventy-nine years ago today, World War II ended in Europe with the Allies accepting the unconditional surrender from Germany on VE-Day. Or did it?   May 7, 1945, VE-Day Adolf Hitler had committed suicide in his Berlin bunker a week earlier on April 30, 1945, as I describe in my article on…

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History of Holocaust Remembrance Day

Auschwitz

History of Holocaust Remembrance Day Today, at sunset, May 5, begins Holocaust Remembrance Day in America. It is a part of the eight Holocaust Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust (DRVH), established by the U.S. Congress as the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust. The U.S. Army remembers the six million Jews…

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History of the Liberation of Dachau, Part 2: April 30, 1945

Dachau gate

HISTORY OF THE LIBERATION OF DACHAU: APRIL 30, 1945. Part 2 In Part 1, I discussed the Nazi Concentration Camps and the initial movement of US Army divisions into Dachau.   Dachau: The Camp As my father and the 42nd “Rainbow” Division moved into the Dachau Concentration Camp, of the 32,000 survivors still alive in…

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History of the Liberation of Dachau: April 29, 1945

History of the Liberation of Dachau

HISTORY OF THE LIBERATION OF DACHAU: APRIL 29, 1945 I remember what my father had told me of his involvement in the liberation of Dachau shortly before he died in 1976. Some of his war buddies discovered the tribute site I’d created for him and called or emailed me to recount stories I’d not known…

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History of Peter Pan: the Story Behind the 71-Year-Old Disney Classic

Peter Pan

HISTORY OF PETER PAN All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again.   So begins my favorite Walt Disney animated movie, Peter Pan, which debuted 71 years ago on February 5, 1953. The original movie poster said: “It will live in your heart forever” …and indeed it has. Why was this…

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History of the Liberation of Auschwitz: January 27, 1945

Auschwitz

HISTORY OF THE LIBERATION OF AUSCHWITZ: JANUARY 27, 1945 January 27, 1945, was the liberation of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, one of the most notorious camps of World War II, by the Soviet Red Army. This date is now known by the United Nations and the European Union as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In America,…

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History of New Year’s Eve

TimesSquare

HISTORY OF NEW YEAR’S EVE New Year’s Eve, according to the Gregorian Calendar, is the last day of the year and is known as Old Year’s Day or St. Sylvester’s Day. You may remember reading that Emperor Constantine was considered the first “Christian” Roman Emperor. St. Sylvester is responsible for Constantine’s conversion in the 4th…

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History of Christmas Eve and the Battle of the Bulge: 79 Years Ago

Snow Fighters

HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS EVE AND THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE: 79 YEARS AGO On Christmas Eve, 1944, my father, Staff Sergeant John Petro, entered the frontline at Strasbourg with the 42nd “Rainbow” Infantry Division in 20-degree weather. Eight days earlier, the Battle of the Bulge had begun. The 42nd Division, along with others, supplied much-needed…

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