“HUSKER FANS SALUTE THE TROOPS” NEEDS YOU!
This fall on the weekend of October 20th, we will be hosting the Fifth Annual "Husker Fans Salute The Troops" celebration at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln. Veterans, troopers and their family members will be treated to a special Husker football weekend.
Here's a preliminary schedule:
Saturday, October 20th
• Morning tour of the Tom and Nancy Osborne Athletic Complex (buses provided)
(Former Husker football greats will be a part of the tour.)
• Special Tunnel Walk ceremony at Memorial Stadium
• Football Watch Party at the Cornhusker Hotel (Huskers @ Northwestern; game time TBD)
All food, beer and soft drinks are provided.
Sunday, October 21st
• 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning awards brunch with a special military Color Guard ceremony
(The brunch is free. We also provide 100 rooms at no charge for registrants.)
Last year was our largest event ever
— over 500 people got to experience "Salute." And in order for us to continue honoring our military heroes, we really need your help. Husker fans, now is the chance for you to show your support for our troopers, veterans and their families. The brave men and women of the armed services who have given so much to all of us don't ask for much in return. By donating to "Salute," you are telling them that you appreciate all they've done for our country.
To register for the event and/or to make a donation, go to www.huskersalute.org. Registration is limited. This year, we would like to reach out to those who haven't attended "Salute" before. That's why it's important to register early.
You also may send your tax-deductible contributions to:
1533 S. 2nd Street
Lincoln, NE 58502
Make your checks payable to "Husker Salute."
TWO MORE GREAT AMERICAN HEROES
D-DAY, June 6, 1944
Sixty-eight years ago this week, over 160,000 American, British and Canadian forces took part in what would become the largest military invasion the world had ever seen. The D-Day assault began on the coastal area of France and included the beaches of Normandy, Utah and Omaha
— an area that spanned over 50 miles. More than 10,000 men lost their lives that fateful day in what was the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany. Ten months later, Adolf Hitler committed suicide, and shortly after that, Germany surrendered.
About year and a half ago, I got to sit down with Harland Van Valkingburg at his home in Sioux City, Iowa, to talk with him about his D-Day experiences. He was an infantryman with the 7th Army as part of the third wave that hit Omaha beach that day. Earlier that morning, he and thousands of other soldiers rode across the choppy waters of the English Channel to begin the D-Day invasion.
Harland admitted that after 60 years, it was hard to remember all the details of that day.
He said, "Most of it I do not want to remember. Some of it I can't forget." He added, "When the front of the gate of my landing craft dropped down, my life changed and has not been the same since. Often, I fell to my knees and prayed to God that I would make it (back home). I prayed for the hell to end."
Sadly, Harland passed away last July at the age of 87.
BOB WATSON AND THE SUMMER OF '44
And about two weeks ago, I had the pleasure to visit in Omaha with Bob Watson, who was a tailgunner on a B-17 aptly named the "Flak Hack." As a member of the 8th Air Force, 487th Bomb Group, he flew the first of his 27 missions fresh out of Omaha South High School in August of 1944. In late December of that year, Curtis Williams, the pilot and commander of the crew, talked Bob into returning to the states to make way for others who wanted to get more flying time.
But on its next mission on Christmas Eve of 1944, the "Flak Hack" was shot down over Belgium. Tragically, Williams, who had talked Bob into leaving the crew, was killed in the crash.
As we enjoy our families and loved ones and contemplate another Husker football season, let's take a moment to thank these true American heroes.
You may email me at HuskerDan@cox.net.