Remember their stories

We must never forget the sacrifices of our 'Greatest Generation'

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There are no major U.S. holidays in August, but perhaps there should be.

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Lou Brissie is pictured during his days with the 88th Infantry Division, in November 1944. A month later, an artillery shell would shatter his left tibia and shinbone into 30 pieces.   SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Lou Brissie is pictured during his days with the 88th Infantry Division, in November 1944. A month later, an artillery shell would shatter his left tibia and shinbone into 30 pieces.

Each August, Americans remember the end of World War II, one of the most transformative periods in our nation’s history. The people who fought for freedom worldwide, and the people who supported that fight at home, rode the momentum from the end of that war to do nothing less than rebuild 20th-century America.

Journalist Tom Brokaw called those Americans “the Greatest Generation.” So do we.

The Augusta Chronicle has profiled many of these veterans over the years. On Sunday, this section will highlight the Augusta-Richmond County Historical Society’s Veterans’ History Project, the sweeping volunteer effort to record the firsthand stories of the remaining remarkable men and women who fought in World War II.

Each story is special. But we like one in particular.

Lou Brissie, now 89, lives in North Augusta. He pitched for South Carolina’s Presbyterian College in the 1940s, and was a pro prospect for the Philadelphia Athletics. But like many of his classmates, he wanted to serve his country in the ongoing war. He got his chance, shipping overseas in 1944 with the Army’s 88th Infantry Division.

On Dec. 7 of that year, amid heavy fighting in northern Italy, a German artillery shell exploded near Cpl. Brissie, mangling his left leg. Doctors were ready to amputate, but for days Brissie pleaded with medical staff to save his leg at all costs, to preserve his chances of ever becoming a big-league baseball pitcher.

Two years, 23 major operations and 40 blood transfusions later, Brissie emerged from the war a decorated veteran, with a metal brace on his leg and a promise of opportunity from legendary Philadelphia manager Connie Mack.

After Brissie pitched a stellar season in the minors in 1947, Philadelphia called him up to pitch the last game of the season, against the New York Yankees. He lost the game, but won his spot in the majors. Brissie went on to pitch seven seasons with the A’s and the Cleveland Indians. He is one of the 100 oldest living baseball pros.

When someone once asked Brissie if he thought he was a hero, this is what the Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient said: “I don’t think I am. I knew some.”

That tells you everything you need to know about Lou Brissie.

Today he’s hospitalized at Augusta’s VA, in the same facility where in past years he has visited hundreds of soldiers to boost their morale.

And his remarkable story is just one of the thousands from the legions of heroes who comprise our Greatest Generation. And theirs are stories we must never forget.

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Jake
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Jake 08/23/13 - 10:45 pm
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God Bless them all

The veteran men and women of WWII are slowly fading away and will soon be mostly forgotten except for their immediate families. That would be a shame and that is also why the Veterans History Project is so important.
The Augusta Chronicle could also do it's part by not forgetting to mention Pearl Harbor on Dec 7th and D-Day on June 6th, which I did not see mention of this past year.

deestafford
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deestafford 08/24/13 - 12:10 am
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I remember when I was growing up in Savannah, I listened to

Mr. Brissie on WFRP when he was pitching for Savannah and also got to go see him pitch. Thanks to my older brother who was a "mill" player I had an autographed baseball with his name on it from those days, but since we played with baseballs in those days until the covers came off and we then tape them up with black tape, it didn't last long and has been long gone.

I was fortunate enough to meet him at his book signing at the old Books A Million and got another autographed ball and a copy of his book. This ball will last much longer than that one of long ago.

If you have not bought and read a copy of his book, you are really missing the story of a true hero who's the epitome of determination and dedication. Mr Connie Mack's belief in Mr Brissie is something I don't think you would see in athletics today. The book is a must read.

Thank you Mr Brissie for everything you are and everything you stand for.

Bodhisattva
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Bodhisattva 08/24/13 - 06:40 am
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Why today and Sunday?

Japan announced their surrender-8/14 or 8/15 depending on time zone. Our V-J day is 9/2, when the Japanese formally surrendered. It just seems like next Sunday, being the day before V-J Day, would have been more appropriate.

MTBer
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MTBer 08/24/13 - 07:31 am
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Thank you

To our veterans, of all wars. Thank you AC for this article. I was driving behind an older gentleman yesterday on Martintown Rd, and his vehicle displayed a Purple Heart license plate. He was driving pretty "cautiously", but I didn't crowd him. You never know what he went through to earn the right to have that plate.

PROSPECT
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PROSPECT 08/24/13 - 08:17 am
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Thank you so much

I'm so very proud of my father, he's a wonderful man with a fighting spirit and a heart of gold.

Gary Ross
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Gary Ross 08/24/13 - 08:33 am
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The Greatest Generation

What a statement! And 100% true too! Our fathers and grandfathers gave up their youth and careers to voluntarily go fight against tyrany when their government called upon them. They are all heros.

I sometimes wonder if our country will ever unite behind a cause like that again. Our government is giving us many reasons for distrust, politicians have become criminals, the citizens have become selfish and greedy, and we as a society seem to honor evil deeds. I often wonder what the WWII vets think of what their children and grandchildren have done with the freedom they fought and died so valiantly to attain. Honoring their sacrifices is not nearly enough. We owe them a better world!!!

david jennings
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david jennings 08/24/13 - 08:35 am
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Patiotism:

Political leader Adlai
Stevenson called patiotism "not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a life." Amen, and thanks to the "Greatest Generation" there has not been another like it and we could sure use one today.

deestafford
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deestafford 08/24/13 - 08:47 am
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The next time you are behind a slowly driven car

and you see the driver is an old man whose ears stick out to the side like the open doors of a '41 Ford and he has shrunken in height that he can barely see over the steering wheel, think for a moment---that old man could have been one of the Rangers who are known as "The Boys of Pont du Hoc" because they stormed the cliffs there as part of the D-Day invasion. He gave years for your freedom...you can give a little of your time and patience for his slow driving. He has earned that much.

I reckon
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I reckon 08/24/13 - 08:49 am
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Truly the Greatest

Truly the Greatest Generation! They are my Heroes and I thank them for fighting for our freedom. Our young people could learn so much from them. Thank you Lou Brissie and all of our Veterans! May God bless you all!

localguy55
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localguy55 08/24/13 - 09:05 am
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Faded Memories

I being a Vet. can appreciate a fellow member of the military and have had the pleasure of meeting many in my lifetime. One such meeting was especially meaningful. Many years ago I had the pleasure to meet a gentleman in the Augusta area that told me a story when he was in WWII. He was part of the spearhead marching towards Berlin. I believe he was a tanker and he said had written a book on his experiences. I wish I could remember the title of the book, but it is lost in my memories, however, I do remember the story he shared. He had told me that he had contacted and talked with Adolf Hitler's secretary in the Bunker prior to the fall of Berlin. It was facinating to meet someone with such an experience and hear this wonderful story firsthand. But it is a sad reality that our post war vets will soon slip into history and their stories and their sacrifices for our freedom, will only be footnotes in history book, if that.
I would urge anyone that if you have the opportunity to meet these vets, whether WWII, Korean, or Vietam, or the Mid. East Wars, take the time to thank them for their service. And if you come accross any who are willing to share their experiences, take the time to listen, because soon some of these stories will be lost to history. I am thankful for these vets and hope others feel the same way.
Thank you Vets.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 08/24/13 - 09:11 am
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Funny I was just watching

Funny I was just watching MSNBC and one person mentioned how Fox News won't last cause all the viewers are over 65 and will hopefully die soon. That' s how progressives see our WWII vets as relics of the past that just need to go away- the greatest generation is an embarrassment to them. In Japan their youth venerate their old vets but America our youth detest these old coots who are likely conservative, racist, homophobic, women hating Rep.

dahreese
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dahreese 08/24/13 - 11:41 am
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Sorry, but I just can't let
Unpublished

Sorry, but I just can't let this one go by;

"That' s how progressives see our WWII vets as relics of the past that just need to go away- the greatest generation is an embarrassment to them."

I am a veteran of four years in the USAF; 12/62-12/66.

I was four years old when WWII started for the U.S.

I had uncles and cousins fighting in that war and one uncle in Korea.

And as a "Progressive" I will tell you to your face your words are a classic example of someone (a conservative, maybe?) who doesn't know what he's talking about but just has to say something - nothing but a rehash of conservative ignorance and misinformation.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 08/24/13 - 11:53 am
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The Women at Home

Lou Brissie is a great man. I'd also like to call attention to another group that helped tremendously with the war effort. The women who worked in the factories and shipyards to provide the armaments for the men fighting. Without them we would have never succeeded. The men and women of that generation had been forged into steel by the depression and were ready for the supreme effort. Thank goodness.

Jake
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Jake 08/24/13 - 12:06 pm
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I might be.......

.......considered "progressive", "regressive", "offensive", etc. But to state that "progressive's" view WWII veterans as an embarrassment, relics, or any other derogatory term is a clear case of blanket ignorance and prejudice.
I know many "liberals and progressives" who had family and friends in WWII and some were also a part of it themselves. The notion that these people do not appreciate the service and sacrifice of the WWII vets is absurd.

Jake
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Jake 08/24/13 - 12:08 pm
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Well said, Riverman

Without a strong and united home front, the battle front would have been weakened.

Gary Ross
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Gary Ross 08/24/13 - 01:20 pm
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Fox News won't last?

I'm not over 65, and I watch Fox. In fact it's the ONLY news I watch! Why? They are the only news source that gives the truth and allows the viewer to form his/her own opinion. You know, the way it's supposed to be done! Also, they are not biased like all the others. I still clearly remember the other news channels spreading the word that there would be wide-spread rioting across the Country if obama wasn't re-elected. Fabricated hogwash to serve an evil agenda, and they should all be tried for treason. Long Live Fox News, because without it we would all be stupid sheep lined up for slaughter.

Every day should be Veteran's Day.

allhans
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allhans 08/24/13 - 02:15 pm
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MSNBC is doing some wishful

MSNBC is doing some wishful thinking.

BTW...I hear that bikers are planning a 2 million man ride to DC 9/11 opposition to the Muslim 1 mill.....

Bizkit
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Bizkit 08/24/13 - 04:26 pm
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I agree MSNBC should be

I agree MSNBC should be ashamed of such a mentality of demonizing various groups with political rhetoric. You get the idea that no woman , young person,or black person , or educated person would ever be a conservative or Rep. Just dreadful. Historically progressives have been bot Rep and Dem and all patriotic Americans. Promoting contempt for folks just because of their political beliefs is a low blow just to appeal to interest groups like young folks and women. I guess only old ladies are Rep. LOL.Sadly we now see many members of the Communist Party USA now affiliate with the progressive movement. I guess the Rep have their racist and Dems their communist.

shrimp for breakfast
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shrimp for breakfast 08/24/13 - 09:27 pm
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Great Article

they we definitely the greatest generation. My father fought the Japanese in the island hopping campaign. The stories he told. His best friend was a paratrooper who fought in the battle of the bulge. I was fortunate enough to meet a man who was in the 116th regiment who stormed Omaha beach on D-Day. All I could think to say to him was thank you. I lost my father last year at 89. Every day we loose about 1,000 vets from WWII. If you get a chance to meet one please thank them for their service.

Darby
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Darby 08/24/13 - 10:35 pm
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BizKit - I could have predicted the response

to your statement...

Fact is, if you had said "that' s how (the vast majority of) progressives see our WWII vets as relics of the past that just need to go away- the greatest generation is an embarrassment to them." you would have been right on target.

There are a few misguided Americans who, if they had their way would foist an economic and social system on us that would destroy this country.

And yet they do love America. They (these few confused and conflicted progressives) do respect our military. They just don't have their priorities in order. At some point, they have lost their way.

...................................................................................

By the same token, there are a small number who call themselves conservatives who don't give a rats rear end about our armed services or even the country for that matter.

For this virtual handful, conservatism is nothing more than a means to a selfish end. They see the parade and run to get out in front.

Thankfully, they constitute a very small minority of the movement.

Bizkit
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Bizkit 08/24/13 - 11:00 pm
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Oh I'm just using the

Oh I'm just using the inflammatory rhetoric to stir the pot . I'd be disappointed if I didn't tick em off to respond. They often ignore me. I'm sure all do support our military. I'm sorry I just can't help myself at times.

Darby
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Darby 08/25/13 - 11:32 am
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"I'm sure all do support our military. I'm

sorry I just can't help myself at times."

.
I know where you're coming from. And I agree, but you may have gone a bit far when
you use the word "all".

I'm certain that's not so. Bill Clinton is on record (in writing) concerning his disdain for our military. John Kerry and Dick Durbin have both categorically accused our troops of wholesale murder and other atrocities.

The voting record of many, many others show similar positions.

There are far too many indications that our current CIC isn't too thrilled with our troops either, except when he can get some political mileage out of them.

No, I stand by my original statement that a very small number of Democrats and/or "progressives" are true patriots.

And a very small number of Republicans and/or "conservatives" certainly are not!

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