Veteran John Foy explains the importance of Memorial Day

May 29, 2017 06:55 PM

In late 1944, following the D-Day Invasion by Allied forces of Normandy, a desperate Hitler launched a major offensive in a last ditch effort to stop the Allies.

What ensued was one of the bloodiest battles in American military history. Thousands of Americans were killed, injured or captured in the two month long battle known as the Battle of the Bulge.

In Rochester, near the mouth of the Genesee River at Lake Ontario, sits a monument honoring all those who fought in the battle. Each year on Memorial Day, the group "Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge" holds a ceremony to honor those who were killed.

"We took terrible casualties in the Battle of the Bulge," says John Foy, founder of the Rochester chapter of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge.

"In my own company, 200 men went in, 40 of us came out," Foy adds grimly. "We took a terrible battle there. I was with George Patton's Third Army, in the relief column, to rescue the soldiers of the 101st Airborne who were surrounded by the German army in Bastogne."

Each year, Foy puts together the ceremony at the monument. "It's encouraging now to see the number of people who turn out for a simple ceremony like this -- especially with ceremonies all over the county that are going on right at this time," he tells us.

Foy spoke at this morning's ceremony, as did other veterans, to pay their respect to those that have been lost. Foy says, as important as the ceremony is for him, it's even more important for family members who have lost a loved one.

"So many of them, they know that Uncle George died in the war, back 70 years ago," he says, "but that's all they know about him -- things like this raises their interest. So they look into it, and find out why George died, where he died, things like that."

Foy says it is also important to look back to acknowledge the good deeds and brave acts men and women have accomplished to protect our country. Foy feels that often when we discuss the past, there is too much focus on the negative. "They (teachers) emphasis the bad things our country has done -- and we have done some bad things -- but those are the things that are emphasized. The good things are never mentioned."

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Howard Thompson

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