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IWKnights Corner For December 19, 2021
Fourth Sunday of Advent

Did you know this about the IW Knights of Columbus? 

The German Instrument of Surrender is signed in Reims, France, effectively ending World War II in Europe on May 7, 1945. Courtesy of 1st Division Museum at Cantigny Park
The German Instrument of Surrender is signed in Reims, France, effectively ending World War II in Europe on May 7, 1945. Photo Courtesy of 1st Division Museum at Cantigny Park

Over the next few weeks we will recount some fascinating stories about the experiences of three Knights of Columbus during and after their service in World War II.  The article – published in the KofC weekly publication known Knightline - was entitled: Service and Sacrifice.  The remainder of today’s column is the introduction to the article.

“Millions of young men entered the armed forces to serve their countries during World War II.  For patriotic Canadians, Britons, Frenchmen and their allies, the call came after the Nazi invasion of Poland on Sept. 1, 1939.  Millions more from the United States joined them after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.”

“‘We know that they were very young, and for most of them it was their first trip abroad,’ said French Consul General Vincent Hommeril, who recently bestowed the medal of the French Legion of Honor upon Louis Graziano, a Knight who on June 6, 1944, participated in the D-Day invasion.”

“‘They were not compelled to do that, but they decided to do it — they risked their lives,’ Hommeril continued.  ‘I am from Normandy.  So personally, these people really mean something to me.  And we are still, up to this day, very grateful for what they did.’”

“While Graziano saw grim action on the front lines, others like Tom Rossi, then a 22-year-old member of the top-secret Office of Strategic Services — a precursor to the U.S. Army’s Special Forces and the Central Intelligence Agency — played a perilous role working behind enemy lines.”

“Others still, like Paul Kerchum, showed the courage of endurance as prisoners of war. Kerchum spent more than three death-defying years in Japanese labor camps —after surviving the horrific Bataan Death March at age 22 in April 1942.”

“Over the following weeks, we share the dramatic stories, adapted from interviews, of these three Knights of the Greatest Generation.”

These stories were recounted by Knights Paul Kerchum, Tom Rossi and Louis Graziano, to the KofC Columbia staff.  The photo above is of the German Instrument of Surrender which was signed in Reims, France, effectively ending World War II in Europe on May 7, 1945.  Courtesy of 1st Division Museum at Cantigny Park.

To find the link to our feature story – along with information on the Knights of Columbus at IWKnights9981.com/bulletin or on facebook.com/IWknights9981 and NOW on Twitter at twitter.com/IwKnights.

Links Related to this week’s column:

Service and Sacrifice

Knights of the “Greatest Generation” tell their stories of faith and courage as veterans of World War II

 By Paul Kerchum, Tom Rossi and Louis Graziano, with Columbia staff -  Columbia Magazine(11/1/2021)
   Click here to read the article 

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We would like to talk with you about becoming an IW Knight.  Please visit us on-line at our web site at www.IWknights9981.com/AboutUs.  Or call Rob Schultz at: (314) 973-2373.

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