With each new site and cemetery, the past creeps back into their memories. “I don’t like to remember,” said veteran John Cipolla. But “some things are very hard to forget.” Among the many painful memories this journey has brought, laughter continues to be the love language of these great men. Without it, these two weeks could never have happened. “You are why we fought,” said veteran Alvin Henderson. “And you were worth it!” Today’s adventures included a trip to the Peace Woods, where a tree had been planted four years ago in honor of John Cipolla’s service during the Battle of the Bulge. We also spent time hunting for fox holes. Mr. Cipolla was actually able to find the place where his fox hole had been some sixty-six years ago during the battle. These and many more stops, although they will never replace the pain experienced here, are having a positive impact on men who had such a large impact on their country.
If it were not for the laughter of these five men this first week, it would be impossible to understand what really took place in these sacred places. Their willingness to relive the pain that they would rather forget, that took years to bury, so that I could better learn to love my country, is a sacrifice that will never be forgotten. It is not just their sacrifice now, but their laughter that I love.