A Boomer’s Guide to D-Day

Seventy years ago – on June 6, 1944, commonly known as D-Day – World War II took a dramatic turn with the Allied invasion of Normandy. The Allied landings – overseen by General Dwight D. Eisenhower - were conducted in two phases: an airborne assault shortly after midnight, and, beginning at 6:30 a.m., an amphibious landing of Allied infantry and armored divisions along a 50-mile stretch of the French coastline. Boomers were not, of course, around for that, but growing up …

Oldest Member of Congress Faces Runoff Election

Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas), the oldest member of Congress, faces a primary runoff after failing to lock up his party’s nomination March 4. Hall, a World War II Navy pilot who came to Congress in 1981 and will turn 91 in May, has said this will be his last race to represent Texas’ 4th Congressional District. But former U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe, who is 48, said he wasn’t going to wait to run because Hall had made that claim in the …

Maria von Trapp: Her Family Inspired ‘The Sound of Music’

In 1938, Maria von Trapp fled the Nazi takeover of her Austrian homeland along with her father, her siblings, and her similarly named governess-turned-stepmother, Maria Kutschera von Trapp. Their adventure eventually inspired one of the most beloved film musicals in history, The Sound of Music, which made Julie Andrews (who played stepmother Maria) into a superstar. But the true story lived by von Trapp - who died on Feb. 22 at age 99 in Stowe, Vt. – was considerably different from the one depicted on …

Lou Brissie: Baseball’s Wounded Warrior

During World War II, major league baseball stars who were called up to serve in the military often got relatively cushy assignments, working as physical education trainers or playing in exhibition games to entertain their fellow troops. But not pitcher Lou Brissie, at the time a promising prospect coveted by the Philadelphia Athletics’ Connie Mack. After leaving South Carolina’s Presbyterian College to enlist in the Army, the 20-year-old corporal nearly lost his life on an Italian battlefield in 1944, when a …

Why So Few Veterans in Congress?

Why are there so few veterans in Congress these days? The end of the military draft 40 years ago and the gradual retirement and passing away of the World War II generation have contributed to a record low of 17 veterans in the 100-member U.S. Senate. >> Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter. In the House of Representatives the total of 85 veterans – out of 435 members – is also the lowest since World War II. The high point …

John Spence: Fighting Frogman

During World War II, John Spence was the kind of hero who belonged in a comic book or movie serial. He was a member of an elite, top-secret team of combat divers called “frogmen,” trained by the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of today’s Central Intelligence Agency, for critical but highly dangerous missions – from rescuing downed airmen before they could be captured to planting explosives on underwater barriers set up by the enemy to hinder beach landings by …