Three months after the Allied invasion of Normandy, William Brundage Sr. was 20 years old when he parachuted out of a plane into Belgium. The Army Airborne enlistee had gone to parachute school in England in preparation for the mission and was now in the thick of the action.
His was supposed to be a secret operation, but the enemy knew he and his comrades were coming.
“We were under fire immediately,” the Louisvillian recalled while watching Louisville’s Veterans Day parade. Weary, his platoon soldiered on toward Germany.
As a veteran of the famous “Battle Of The Bulge,” Brundage remembers the brutal winter.
“I spent Christmas Eve of 1944 dug in and sleeping on a riverbank,” Brundage recalled. “It was cold, lonely and frightening.”
After repatriating, the holidays took on special meaning for the elder Brundage. According to his son Bill, Christmas was always an emotional day for his father.
During those winter months, the Allies sustained heavy losses. Brundage was one of the lucky ones. He survived World War II, and remained in the service, serving in Korea and earning a Purple Heart for being wounded in combat. After retiring from the service in 1963, he found work at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant until his retirement.
Sitting in the bleachers, watching the parade on a warm November day, he stood as stiffly and proudly as the day he graduated boot camp saluting the colors as they were presented.
“I’m proud to be a part of this,” he said sitting with his son, Bill and daughter-in-law Cindy.
At 86, his son told us he wept with joy on the way home. Tears of joy for a veteran remembered for his service and sacrifice on a national holiday.
Category: Veteran's Day 2011