Harry, D-Day and memories.

Ellouise - circa 1944

D-Day - June 6  this year is remembering and honoring the 75th anniversary of that battle.

In 1944 I was 8 years old. I am grateful for my vivid memories of that day.

My daddy was in the Army Air Corps and he was stationed in India. When was sent the air base so far away Mama moved with her three daughters into a 12 family apartment house on Hawthorn Lane in Charlotte, NC.

 Each family living in the 'Virginia Apartments" had a member somewhere overseas and all were hoping this meant that the war in Europe was coming to a close. And then  hoping the end of the war in the Pacific would soon follow. There was excitement in the adult voices as
they talked about the D-Day invasion while they studied the newspapers. Radios blared out the news story from every apartment. People were nervous but it was a hopeful day.

In 2013 when I was in Georgia visiting my  sister Kathy introduced me to  a very special friend of hers ---- Harry Catchpole.

She told me - "I want you to meet him, Ellouise. Harry is a WWII veteran. He was stationed in England and served as a clerk on General Eisenhower's staff. He tells me and  Johnny incredible stories about the preparations in the office to get ready for D-Day.  He had to wait for the 2nd day to be sent over to Omaha Beach."

Harry remembered it all and he shared so many personal stories. Listening to him was a rare opportunity to meet history outside of a book-page. Meeting Harry was a very important  - - a privilege to know someone who was an eyewitness to history.

Harry enjoyed sharing the experience. And he remembered it all.

Harry is no longer "among us"and we cannot reach out to him to bring D-Day alive for us as we honor this important day.

Meeting Harry was an inspiring connection for me because talking with him furthered my belief in asking questions and discovering history from eyewitnesses ---- when that is not possible for me I pursue letters and other personal documents to capture an unknown first hand story.

I  do what I do with bits of women's history - remembering unknown women whose lives  have been forgotten and lost in the shadows of history. For some reason I have wrapped myself in the purpose to find and tell their stories for as long as I can.

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