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Topic: Billy Laird

Remembering American Heroes

 

Written by State Senator Roy Herron

Memorial DayDad got to England in July of 1944.  Soon after he landed, he was on a landing craft headed for Normandy.  As they crossed the English Channel, over the loudspeaker came the familiar voice of Roy Acuff singing, “The Great Speckled Bird.”

Years later, Dad would remember that no son of the South, and few from anywhere else, had dry eyes as Acuff sang that Grand Ole Opry favorite and their thoughts returned to home.

They hit Omaha Beach and before long were fighting in the hedgerows. A few days into combat, Dad was wounded, but it could have been much worse. For thousands, it was.  So on he fought with his buddies, all part of the Ninth Infantry that famed war correspondent Ernie Pyle once called “a beautiful machine.”

Army troops on board a LCT, ready to ride across the English Channel to France. Some of these men wear 101st Airborne Division insignia. Photograph released 12th June 1944. (Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.)

Army troops on board a LCT, ready to ride across the English Channel to France. Some of these men wear 101st Airborne Division insignia. Photograph released 12th June 1944. (Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.)

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