PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT

April 12, 1945

Le Harve, France

“The President is dead, long live the President.” I uttered those words when I heard of President Roosevelt’s death. The military newspaper, “The Stars and Stripes,” carried a front-page banner and word spread fast.

President Roosevelt,’s funeral, April 1945 in LeHarve, France.  (All military expected to attend French civilians also invited some foreign soldiers.)

President Roosevelt,’s funeral, April 1945 in LeHarve, France.
(All military expected to attend French civilians also invited some foreign soldiers.)

As the realization I had lost my ultimate Army leader slowly sank in, I had two thoughts. The first was, “How could this happen when we are very near victory in the war in Europe?”

Immediately after came, “Why couldn’t God have kept him alive for just a few more months so he could see the results of his efforts to free Europe and the world of the Axis and their terrible conquests?”

The following day, we received word that a memorial service would take place in a sports complex in LeHarve. All U.S. service men were expected to attend, so we closed down our operation that day and went.

I don’t recall much except a lot of high-level military “brass” took the stage and talked about what President Roosevelt had accomplished in his four terms. One thing I do remember is one man mentioned the president had made a GI (soldiers’) Bill of Rights

that would offer free university scholarships to all service men and women.

Later, I read that President Roosevelt also ordered universities to be set up in the ETO (European Theater Operations) where those of us serving abroad could attend classes while waiting our turn to return home. One university was being set up in the southern resort city of Biarritz, France and another one in England. Arrangements were also being made with the Louvre in Paris, France, for the study of painting, sculpture and other fine arts.

At the time, I was having attacks of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I experienced bouts of sweating and generally nervous and occasionally jumped at loud sounds.

I thought it stemmed from the bombing of St. Lo that I was in, while the Germans attempted to capture and destroy our beachhead at Omaha Beach.  This part was night-fighting against German tanks and troops.
  I thought a Rest and Recreation leave would help. However, soon after the war ended, an R-and-R leave was no longer available. My railroad liaison was designated “essential” and we were to remain behind to complete many railway tasks.

Le (Aug. ‘15) says, “I used the GI Bill to earn a Pilot’s License and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Landscape Architecture.”

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