Nadine sent me a photo of him speaking before the honors flight dinner Thursday night.
Ash has been on a mission since 2008 to bring veterans together on this 70th anniversary of D-Day. Ash was there at Normandy soon after the first wave of troops landed on the beach. His writing about that day and the emotions he felt when he saw how many fellow Americans had been killed brought tears to the eyes of all of us in our writing class when he told his stories about that war. He was determined to honor those who died and those who are living today that experienced the war that saved our world. In my opinion it was the last war that we should have fought, the last one we have won, and the last one that was properly declared.
|Ash Rothlein in red shirt at podium. He will be ninety on June 12.|
Ash has been a leader in this large ceremony in Bedford this weekend. He managed to get over two hundred WWII vets brought there and given free accommodations. Of course each veteran has to have someone with him to look after his needs. Medical staff must be on hand in case someone becomes ill. All the hotels in the area are full, I'm sure.
Ash spearheaded, with his own money, the completion of a statue, which he will help dedicate tomorrow, that pays tribute to the young men of Bedford, 22 in all, who lost their lives at Normandy or soon after. I hope Nadine will send me more pictures from tomorrow's events.
Although I could not go, I am with them all in spirit. I am so proud of Ash. He has worked tirelessly to make this a spectacular event for those remaining WWII vets who are all near his age. Nothing he has done is for him, but for others.
I tell him he is a symbol of what one man can do if he believes in his mission and in himself.