On D-Day, veterans gather at WWII Memorial
By MEREDITH TIBBETTS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 6, 2017
WASHINGTON — They served in some of the most horrific battles of World War II.
One took part in the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944. Another fought in the Battle of Okinawa.
The veterans, some using canes and wheelchairs, gathered for the 73rd anniversary of D-Day at a commemoration ceremony Tuesday at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Though some needed help, the veterans stood for the crowd as their names were called. They were treated as celebrities after the wreath laying, as boy scouts and visitors rushed to them to ask questions and thank them for their service.
In attendance were:
- Herman Zeitchik: Served with the 4th Infantry Division Field Artillery. He took part in the Normandy invasion on June 6, 1944, landing on Utah Beach in the first wave at H-Hour. He also took part in the liberation of Paris and the liberation of Dachau concentration camp.
- Geraldine Lohman Corn: A Navy nurse on the home front, she cared for the wounded as they made it back from duty in the Pacific.
- Eli Linden: Landed at Omaha Beach three weeks after D-Day as a replacement with the 90th Infantry Division. He joined Gen. George S. Patton's 3rd Army as part of the forward scout team. He spent five months as a prisoner of war before he was liberated by the Russians in May, 1945.
- Bill Walsh: Served with the Army's 2nd Infantry Division
- Harry Miller: Served with the Army's 740th Tank Battalion, and took part in the Battle of the Bulge. He also served in the Korean War in Gen. Douglas MacArthur's headquarters. Lastly, he served in the Air Force during Vietnam at Strategic Air Command.
- Jim Riffe: Participated in the Battle of Okinawa. He entered the Army in 1942 as a private, and retired in 1972 as a colonel. During his career he was the leader of an infantry platoon, the commander of an infantry rifle company, and an intelligence officer and plans and operations officer of an infantry battalion.
- Col. Arnald Gabriel: Served as a combat machine gunner with the Army's 29th Infantry Division in Europe, and was part of D-Day. He was also the commander and conducter of the US Air Force Band, US Air Force Symphony Orchestra, and Singing Sergeants from 1964 to 1985.