Friday is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, but to a lot of people it’s just Friday. That’s not right.
It’s a lot more than just a series of specials on the History Channel with big events boiled down to 47 minutes with people playing Churchill and Roosevelt who don’t look like them.
It’s frightening to think about what might have happened if D-Day had gone the other way. Chillingly, General Dwight Eisenhower drafted two post-invasion statements, one that got read, declaring a success, and one that didn’t, taking the blame for its failure.
Why did he get to deliver the first?
A lot of brave men like Frank Garza of Rockdale, Weldon Scroggins of Thorndale and Paul Stach of Cameron.
Garza and Scroggins were paratroopers. They were actually dropped over the French countryside a few hours before the invading armada.
Garza was killed about a minute after hitting the ground.
(Sadly, his younger brother, Nicolas Garza, died in a prisoner of war camp during the Korean War.)
Scroggins was classified as Missing in Action until his body was found nine months later in the village of Pont du Chef.
Investigators theorized he was killed in the air and his body drifted to the ground. Scroggins was the first man to jump from his plane.
Only about one-sixth of the 10,000 paratrooper dropped that morning ever made it to their intended destinations. (Not all died, of course.)
Stach was a pilot. His plane was shot down. He survived but was then one of three airmen executed by a German captain.
A French farmer retrieved the bodies and gave them a decent burial. After the war Stach was re-buried in San Antonio.
Longtime Rockdale businessman, the late Adolph McVoy was in the second wave on Omaha Beach. He made it home.
It was close. A 5o-caliber slug went through the heavy overcoat, raincoat and blanket he’d been sleeping on just minutes before.
That’s what D-Day is. It’s personal—M.B.