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Story Archives: Memorial Day remembered
|Memorial Day remembered|
The following articles were written by retired U.S. Air Force serviceman, Willie W. Russell, Jr., who said he was motivated by deep respect and admiration for veterans, and the desire to see this history preserved for future generations.
With the observance of Memorial Day near, we honor all Franklin Parish Veterans that have served in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Franklin Parish has supplied hundreds of soldiers to fight in all these wars.
Those who remained at home are also to be commended for their support of the war effort during these times of intense conflict.
Memorial Day or Decoration Day, is a patriotic holiday in the United States.
It is a day to honor American servicemen and women who gave their lives for their country.
Originally, Memorial Day honored men who died in the civil war.
It now also honors those who died in the Spanish-American war, World Wars I and II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On Memorial Day, people place flowers and flags on the graves of servicemen and women. Many organizations, including Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and fraternal groups march in military parades and take part in special programs.
Historians find it difficult to measure the cost of World War II. they can only estimate.
No assessor can count the individual cost of personal property lost in bombings and shellings.
No person can measure the cost in human suffering and loss of life. Only a rough estimate of damage can be given.
World War II took the lives of more persons than any other war in history.
It has been estimated that civilian and military dead totaled 55 million. Eastern Europe and East Asia suffered the heaviest losses.
German and Russia, the nations that had been ground between them, may have lost as much as a tenth of their populations.
Figures on Chinese deaths are inaccurate, but they numbered in the millions.
Civilians suffered the greatest losses, except in the United States, Britain, Canada and a few other countries. Most civilian deaths were from bombings, massacres, forced migrations, epidemics and starvation.
World War II was the most expensive war in history. It has been estimated that the cost of the war totaled $1.154 trillion dollars and the cost of property damage amounted to more than $239 billion.
The United States spent about 10 times as much as it had spent in all its previous wars combined. The national debt rose from $42 billion in 1940 to $239 billion, at the end of the war.
Many countries continue to pay for the war in years to come through repaying loans and caring for veterans.
In 1962, the United States established a $500 million dollar fund to repay its citizens for losses suffered in the war.
Damage to key industries, transportation and housing in World War II was far greater and covered much wider areas than in World War I.
Bombing, artillery, fire and street fighting devastated such major cities as Berlin, Budapest, Coventry, Dresden, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hiroshima, Leningrad, London, Manila, Milan, Munich, Nagoya, Nanking, Rotterdam, Stuttgart, Tokyo, and Warsaw.
The following are the number of military deaths of World War II: Belgium, 11,240; China, 1,324,519; France, 200,240; Bulgaria, 10,000; Finland, 51,808; Germany , 2,916,507; Hungary, 140,000; Italy, 159,957; Japan, 2,144,507; Romania, 200,000.
Adventures of escort driver recalled
Interviews with some of our own Franklin Parish World War II veterans include the story of Corporal William Dallas Batey, son of Mr. and Mrs. M.C. Batey of Wisner and husband of Joyce Haire.
He attended Wisner High School and entered the Army in 1944.
He trained at Camp Swift, Texas, Fort Sam Houston, Camp Livingston and Camp Polk.
He served his time in England and Germany and was awarded ETO, 2 Stars, GC and Victory Ribbons.
CPL Dallas Batey served with the 508 Military Police Battalion. This outfit was civilian, no army personnel. He departed for Europe and landed in LaHarre, France two days after D-Day, June 6, 1944, and crossed France into Germany.
Batey's job was front line army to restore towns after fighting has passed.
The first prison camp liberated was at Nuremburg. Jews were the inmates.
The camp had a gas chamber building. It cremated 15 bodies at a time.
After some time, Dallas ended up in Dachau (Death Camp) which is 10 miles outside of Munich. This is where the famous Military German Trials were held.
He became an escort driver for General George Patton, who always rode in a limousine, behind Dallas.
Dallas drove a jeep, with a siren on each fender of the vehicle and directed two motorcycles that drove in front of his jeep.
They were the best Military Police available.
The major task was to escort General Patton to and from the Dachau trials as well as any other travel.
Patton wanted to travel very fast and required Dallas to put the petal to the metal.
One night while escorting the General to the Red Cross Center, he looked back and the General's Limo had disappeared.
Dallas stopped the jeep and motorcycle escorts and went to the Red Cross Center for help.
They found him in back, drinking coffee.
He gave Batey instruction to take off when he was seen coming. Patton had passed Dallas on the Autobahn, and he was killed when a tractor trailer pulled out in front of his vehicle.
Dallas heard the news over the radio.
Dallas then became a driver for General Truscutt.