I am sitting here, in front of my computer, wondering what my Grandfather was doing 62 years ago today. Marvin G. Morton left behind a wife and infant daughter when he went to fight in World War II. On this day, 62 years ago, he would land on Utah beach with the 4th Infantry Division.
Many are familiar with Omaha Beach from Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan. Utah, by comparison, went smoothly. The invasion force landed some 2000 yards south of the planned beach on a beach not as heavily defended. Stephen Ambrose's book, and the HBO mini-series, Band of Brothers, tells the story of the E 2/506th Division (Easy Company). One of their main objective was to take out a battery of 105mm Howitzers targeting Utah Beach and give the 4th Infantry a chance to secure the beach head.
I have only known my grandfather from a single photograph that sits in grandmother's house. It is of the variety that would have been taken at boot camp. Recently I have started asking more questions about Marvin, approaching the subject carefully. I have learned that he would bring relief to the 82 Airborne at Ste. Mere Eglise, help the French in the liberation of Paris and then, later in September, would go through Belgium to attack the Seigfried Lines. And that would be the end of his story. Marvin was wounded during a mortar attack, and would later die in a field hospital. It left my Grandmother a widow, and my mom without a father.
Over the past several thanksgivings, grandmother has shared more stories and more letters (there are some private letters that she has told me about, but she does not want those read until after her death. I assume that they are personal letters from Marvin). I have read many of the telegrams informing her of Marvin's injury, and she has shown me the very spot in her house where she stood when Army representatives came to her door confirming her husband's death. My grandmother never remarried, raised a daughter and worked in textile factory well into her eighties. Without a doubt, she is the strongest woman I have ever known.