Remembering those who served during D-Day

JOE PARSONS

On this 75th anniversary of D-Day … a moment to recognize the service of my father, Joe Parsons.

When his number came up in the World War II draft, he departed Trout Lake, Michigan, by rail for Chicago. Mom reminded him over the years that he didn’t have to go when he did … he had a young son at home. But he went anyway.

He trained at Soldier Field in Chicago — where the Chicago Bears play today — as a ground radio operator mastering Morse code and the intricacies of radio equipment of that era.

From Chicago he went by rail to the East Coast, for embarkation to Great Britain. He went by ship and never did much care for boat travel after that.

Dad served at various bases around England, observed up-close and personal the bombing of Plymouth, England.

Dad’s job was radio-direction-finding, using triangulation to locate and call in bombers to destroy Nazi radio stations and other targets. He also assisted in routing supply aircraft across the channel. He won his D-Day ribbon as part of a massive support group for those men landing on the beach.

In his service role, he did not face the terrible death and destruction of those landing on the beaches, but he was part of the operation. He returned home after the war and, like most of the Greatest Generation, never thought much about his service. It was time to get on with life and work. He lived to be 94.

To the memory of his service and to that of the Greatest Generation who did make the ultimate sacrifice, on this 75th anniversary of D-Day … salute.

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