Local WWII Veterans Gather on 70th D Day Anniversary

By: Michael Oder Email
By: Michael Oder Email

BRYAN - On this anniversary of D Day, many World War II veterans gather to remember that day and their time in the war. The American Legion hosted it's annual World War II breakfast Friday morning.

Breakfast at the American Legion in Bryan means bacon and eggs.
But on Friday morning, it's more than just a meal.

The men gathering in the room served during World War Two.

"I landed in France, January 2nd," said Alfred Birdwell. He drove tanks through France and had stories to tell.

"My colonel was Lovelady. He was too fat to fit in the tank," laughed Birdwell.

"Every time we'd start shooting he'd get behind my tank because I was in the lead tank. We laughed at him all the time, but he was a good guy," he continued.

Many of them served on the front lines. Always pushing the enemy back.

"I went all the way through the [the battle of the] Bulge, drove the first tank over the Rhine River and I met the Russians on the Elbe River at the end of the war," said Birdwell.

"They experienced more in two years than a lifetime should ever have happened and the stories that they have are some of the most outrageous, funny stories and they tell it with such a light heart," said Staff Sargent Timothy Bridge. He and his company are tied with these vets through their service to the country. Although decades separate their tours of duty, the camaraderie is strong.

"They've got stories. They can listen to your stories, tell you how they've gotten over this stuff. These guys lost more people in a day then we've lost ever," said Bridge.

These men made it home, while thousands others didn't. While they don't like to talk about the war much, their war remains fresh in their memories.

"I had too many friends that got killed," said Birdwell.

"I just had a pretty rough time. All of us did. I wasn't the only one. All of us had a pretty rough time, but we got through it," he continued.

The American Legion is on Waco Street off Highway 21, in Bryan. The host big breakfasts through out the year for veterans from Korea, Vietnam and all wars.

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