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  • Writer's pictureAmyanne rigby


Today marks 80 years since D Day the number of surviving veterans dwindles daily. I remember visiting the beaches of Normandy and the cemetery there when I was 18. It was a moment that changed me. So today, I pause to reflect and remember those men who gave their lives there for the cause of freedom and for my family members who fought ever so valiantly in World War II so that freedom might live.

On this day in 1944 150,000 troops landed on the beaches of Normandy in France. It was the largest invasion by sea in history. It became known as D- day. Its code name was operation Neptune. My grandfather, Max Dickson Weaver and my husband's grandfather, Francis LeBaron Leany both served in World War II. In 1945, my grandfather Weaver was serving in the Phillipines as did my great Uncles Edward Irel Hofheins and Bernell Ward Evans.

Private First Class Bernell Evans was awarded the Bronze Star for Heroic Action at the front. (Parowan Times) promoted to Corporal. Evans was drafted into service and was sent to the European Theatre as an artillery gunmen. He was sent to Omaha Beach, France following the initial days of the D-Day invasion.

As the years have passed, he has told us more about his experiences during the war, but he has always been modest in his reports. I had heard rumors that he had received the Bronze Star, but really didn’t know much about it until while going through some of my mom’s memorabilia discovered the following newspaper article.

“Private First Class Bernell W. Evans, 39908809, 190th Field Artillery Battalion, United States Army. For heroic achievement in connection with military operations against an armed enemy on 17 March 1945, near Volmuster, France. During a night march, Private First Class Evans voluntarily entered an enemy minefield to render first aid to a comrade seriously wounded by an exploding mine. After calming and reassuring the wounded man, PFC. Evans walked out of the minefield and proceeded to the command post to summon help. This done, he returned toward the minefield but was dissuaded from reentering the field when it was determined that the wounded soldier was being removed by others. The heroic action of PFC Evans reflects great credit upon himself and upon the United States Army.”

Bernell was born February 7, 1923 in Parowan, Utah and died June 14, 2015 in West Valley City.

Max Dickson Weaver (1917- 2012)in the Philippines during the liberation of Japan, July 15, 1945. At age 26 leaving behin his wife and two young boys, Max served in the 1629th Engineer Construction Batallion from 1944- 1946.

"Francis LeBaron Leany (1924- served the Army Force where he served valiantly in World War II as a radio specialist on a B17 aircraft. He joined when he was 18 years old. and served from (1942-

Edward Irel Hofheins (1912- 1981) Uncle Ike registered for the draft at age 28 in 1940. His service began in 1942 at the age of 30 (U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 Edward I Hofheins)


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