After the Nazis invaded the Netherlands in 1940, a Dutch watchmaker named Corrie ten Boom and her family decided to build a secret room in their home. For four years, they would use this room to hide Jews — and save them from the Holocaust.
“The ten Boom family sheltered as many Jewish refugees as possible until they could be transported away to safety. And by the time an informant tipped off the Gestapo in 1944, they had helped rescue more than 800 people.
Ten Boom would later tell her story in a powerful book titled “The Hiding Place.”
Louisiana’s Lawrence Brooks, aged 112, smiled as his daughter, Vanessa, tenderly placed his new garrison cap on his head in the ICU bed. She says it’s what her father, the world’s oldest living World War II veteran, wanted most — a new Army uniform to replace the original he’d lost 16 years ago in Hurricane Katrina.
Brooks was presented with an authentic reproduction WWII uniform and his old unit’s badge during a recent short stay in the New Orleans VA hospital at the beginning of November. Brooks’ health is declining rapidly and he is adamant about spending his remaining days at his home with family. God-willing, he says he plans to wear his khakis this Veterans Day.null
“This is it,” said Brooks. “This is the uniform I wore in Australia.”
Brooks immediately recognized the components of the summer service uniform he wore while serving in the Pacific theater. He was back at his house in New Orleans on Nov. 4, smiling and fondling his cap before placing it on his head. He also held the insignia from the 91st Engineer Battalion, the predominantly African American unit in which Brooks served in Australia, Papua, and the Philippines.
Brooks says he has never forgotten his unit’s motto, and repeats it aloud, “acts, not words.” For historians, the battalion was re-designated the 91st Engineer General Service Regiment late in the summer of 1942. According to Richard W. Stewart, the army’s former chief of military history, the battalion was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for service in Papua and the Meritorious Unit Commendation in the Asiatic-Pacific theater.
90% of these soldiers on the first boats to hit the beaches didn’t live to see the end of the day…look at those faces…some of them never lived to see their 18th Birthday…never voted…never loved a woman…or owned a home…they paid the ultimate price for your freedom…you live your life the way you do because of them….think of that…
Army Brig. Gen. Anthony McAuliffe led the 101st Airborne Division during the Battle of the Bulge. The Americans were outnumbered, surrounded, and running short on supplies when a German delegation requested their surrender. McAuliffe was awoken with the news and sleepily responded “Nuts!” before heading to meet his staff who had to draft the formal response to the German commander.
The staff decided that the general’s initial response was better than anything they could write. While under siege and near constant attack, the paratroopers typed the following centered on a sheet of paper: