Wirth Watching: Remembering those who fought for our freedom

Each memorial day, I remember the stories told by a brave soldier of World War II. I met the late Wollas Macey 20 years ago. He told the stories of those - like him - who somehow survived D-Day and those who never made it off the beach.  

We will be observing the 70th anniversary of D-Day in about two weeks.  It makes this memory even more meaningful and important to remember.

Wollas Macey said he was just one kid. A kid that was scared as he moved with thousands yet was all alone.

A framed D-Day photo shows a half dead soldier crawling up to a piece of metal for cover. Wollas Macey was a long way from Logan, Utah

“The first off the boat were all shot and blown to pieces. As long as I was in the water with just my head showing, I had no problem--- but where I got to where I could run, I ran about 50 yards zig-zagging. I hit the dirt. This picture was the 3rd time I hit the dirt. I was headed for that obstacle. Bullets - there were just all around - losing my buddies right and left,” said Macey.

“Those on the beach - that were dead on the beach will stay here- those stay here were going to get dead too. Lets go, and they all started over the hill at the bluff. I had a lot of time to think and I wasn't going to be any hero. Because the member you raised up, someone would shoot at you.

I was so scared and I was soaking wet and it was cold and chilly. I thought I have to get back to Logan - do some fishing and hunting in the hills-me my friends who have all gone into the service- see my mother and dad and these are the things that went through my mind. There are probably a lot of heroes in the war, but my feeling is a hero did something just out of instinct. You didn't think about it- or you wouldn't have done it,” Macey said.

Wollas Macey left his leg on that beach. He carried a mirror. Shrapnel from a mine hit it - instead of his heart.

“A little distance away was a hedgerow, and I was going to make it to that hedgerow. I got up and fell on my face. I was just numb. It was then I realized my leg had been blown off,” said Macey.

It's the story of the boy in the photograph behind the metal… a lonely story of a soldier who went through 17 operations.

“I asked the doctor what happened. I had a big spike cast on. He said well you lost one. We don't know about the other. I said if you save one, I’ll make a go of it,” said Macey.

And he made a go of it… never forgetting those who didn't come home

“Stand in that cemetery to salute all those buddies I know personally. They gave their lives,” said Macey.

It would be the day the word vowed it would never forget… but twenty years ago--- he said the children had forgotten.

“I used to give talks at schools about WWII. I quit doing it. I went to a junior high class. Do you know about D-Day? Not a one. I said well its time Wolley to forget doing this.. It is out of their memory,” said Macey.

This memorial day--- we don't forget them and I will never forget Wollas Macey.


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