I read this story and I reminded myself to remember that these old men that you see marching in parades on Veterans Day and other patriotic holidays, wearing funny hats and vests, were young warriors once. The fought for you and I and their country. they deserve our respect and gratitude.
Former Army Rangers swap stories in Lawrence
LAWRENCE - A cadre of Army Rangers who traded bullets with their Nazi counterparts more than 60 years ago gathered last week to exchange stories.
More than 50 former Rangers met for a three-day reunion, wearing baseball caps with their unit designations and the tan berets of today's Rangers. Most are in their 80s and 90s, some walking with canes and others coasting along in wheelchairs.
"We come here to see each other and hear the same damned old stories," said LeRoy Button, 91, of Buchanan Lake, Texas.
Sixty-two years to the day after he was shot and wounded in France, Button sat in his wheelchair at a Lawrence conference center and recounted his World War II experience.
Button was with a headquarters unit and was among those who made the first push ashore at Omaha Beach. He was aboard a landing craft driven by a British crew and nearly fell victim to a booby-trapped obstacle on the beach.
Lewis Haight, 82, of Swannanoa, N.C., recalled a friend being shot and killed by a German soldier.
Haight shot and killed the German moments later.
"I still remember the look on his face," Haight said. "He knew what was going to happen next."
Red Gilbert, 85, of Milton, N.H., was at a replacement depot in North Africa when someone arrived asking for volunteers to join the Rangers. Gilbert and a friend signed up.
"I think we were getting tired of hanging around the depot waiting," he said. "Once you get in, you've always got that Ranger spirit."