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Experiencing War (Companion to the New Book -- Forever a Soldier): Stories from the Veterans History Project

The terrains change, the face of the enemy may be different, but so much, ranging from Pearl Harbor to the beaches and trenches of France to the jungles of Vietnam to the deserts of the Middle East, has a familiar ring. There are the physical hardships that can't be mitigated by advanced technology. There is the noise, the confusion, the chaos, and the uncertainty of battle, no matter how great the odds are in your favor. And there is the longing for peace, for the calm of a day without bullets or bombs.

Image of Albert M. Hassenzahl
Portrait of 2nd Lt. Albert M. Hassenzahl,
age 21


When paratrooper Albert Hassenzahl landed in France in the early morning darkness of June 6, 1944, he wasn't alone. But for a moment, with no one--friend or foe--visible, it did seem that way. He was wounded a short time later and evacuated, but he returned to Europe to participate in the Market Garden operation and the Battle of the Bulge. Hassenzahl recorded his war memories years later, alone in his study, after a younger neighbor's casual remark prompted him to realize the historical importance of what he had experienced.

Go to Albert M Hassenzahl's StoryLearn more about Albert M. Hassenzahl
Jump DownJump to other stories featured in Chapter One

"I thought that I was the only GI to land on the coast of Normandy." (Audio interview, 15:16)

Image of Raymond Brittain

"No animosity toward us at all, not even a dirty look. They just got out of your way."

Raymond Brittain's story

Image of Raffi Bahadarian

"There was not a minute when I was afraid ... and I know that everything is in God's hands."

Raffi Bahadarian's story

Image of Hillie John Franz

"The screeming of the shells was so loud it all most would run any one crazy."

Hillie John Franz's story

Image of Robert H. Powell

"There were a lot of pilots who didn't make it who were better than I."

Robert H. Powell's story

Image of Kenneth Ray Rodgers

"Any man who ... says he wasn't scared is a damn liar, and I'll tell him that to his face."

Kenneth Ray Rodgers' story

Image of John R. Sudyk

"We were the most forward element in that sector of Normandy."

John R. Sudyk 's story

  Home >> Chapter One: ON THE FRONT LINES
  The Library of Congress
  November 1, 2005
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