Veteran’s Death Occurs Following Anniversary of Normandy Landings

A recent veteran’s death gave him just enough time to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the Normandy landings. The deceased former soldier’s name is Corporal Jack Schlegel, and he was one of the many paratroopers who made the landings possible in the first place. Not long after the anniversary commemoration ceremonies finished, Schlegel passed away. The veteran’s death occurred just five days following the commemoration ceremonies.

Schlegel lived the sort of live that might be envied by many true soldiers. He was a survivor to the very core, having been imprisoned by German forces on four separate occasions and always living to tell the tale. Not only did he win many awards for his services, but he even shared a friendly drink with General Patton. The veteran’s death seems fateful, as he would have missed a landmark anniversary celebration had he passed just a few days earlier. His daughter feels that his ability to take part in the anniversary helped put his spirit at rest, allowing him to move on peacefully, the NBC News reports.

According to his daughter, Schlegel remained a strong and active man even in his old age. He did backbreaking chores such as cutting wood, and also kept his intellect intact by reading heavily. Leading up to the occurrence of the veteran’s death, he was highly sociable and enjoyed witty conversation with others. In his youth, even his war wounds could not hold him down, as he imbibed a glass of Johnnie Walker with General Patton after receiving his first Purple Heart.

Though he considered himself an American, Schlegel was actually a German immigrant. This was a large part of what helped him survive imprisonment, as he was able to communicate easily with his captors. The veteran’s death falls thirty years after one of his first big D-Day celebrations, in which he had a French road named after him. This was the very road near which Schlegel descended into Normandy during the invasions of Operation Overlord.

Any veteran’s death is a tragedy, but there is some levity to be found in the manner of Schlegel’s passing. He was an honored soldier who survived harsh circumstances and torture, met one of the greatest generals in history, and became the patriarch of a family who was proud of him to the very end. He also survived just long enough to see the passing of seventy years since one of the greatest conflicts in the Second World War. It can easily be said that this veteran’s death comes at the end of a very meaningful life.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE