Anton Frerich remembers sitting in the Higgins boat–just off the Normandy shoreline–with water up to his chest.
“We stayed on the boat,” Frerich said. “When you were sitting in the front you’d be this deep in the water.”
“I don’t think we paid any attention to it [pauses] you were fearing what’s ahead.”
What was ahead, Frerich and his company could have never expected.
“We hear some firing and you don’t know whether it’s heavy stuff or what it is [laughs]. But you’re too scared to look.”
“At 4:30 in the afternoon we went up there and unloaded. They dropped that big ole’ tongue and the truck and gun all rolled off.”
The remainder of the day and into the night, Frerich still can’t recall.
“I don’t know what all happened that night. I don’t think anybody slept. And that’s the way it went on for who knows how long.”
For 11 months, Frerich battled in Europe.
When he returned home, he admits it was hard to adjust.
“You’re not yourself when you come home,” Frerich said. “After you’re on that damn boat for 14 days.”
“I didn’t remember too much for the first few days.”
But staying in touch with fellow comrades helped.
“The guy I was with over in France and through the whole thing was from South Dakota. I was going to go up there and see him. I happen to call before I went up there. She [his friends wife] says, ‘Don’t come. He’s on his death bed.’ “
Unfortunately, for Frerich and the rest of the World War II vets, this is the reality.
It’s estimated we lose 492 WWII veterans every single day.
With each passing, a solider loses his comrade.
And the American people lose a true hero.