- The Washington Times - Friday, November 11, 2005

Retired Navy Capt. James Froid stood outside the World War II Memorial on the Mall yesterday and solemnly recalled his Vietnam tour as a rivercraft squad commander in the Mekong Delta.

“In our squad, one out of every five officers was killed and one in 15 enlisted men was killed,” he said. “It’s one of those things you do once but never want to see again.”

Capt. Froid’s two brothers — both World War II veterans — were in town for a visit, and they came to see the memorial in its full grandeur on Veterans Day.

“It’s the first time we’ve been together in nine years,” said Capt. Froid, 73. “It’s a very appropriate day.”

The men also came to honor the soldiers with whom they served.

“Being together, each one of us has their own feelings about the people they served with,” said Robert Froid, 81, who was a medic and staff sergeant in World War II and the Korean War.

“I had about 600 sailors who worked for me in the squadron,” said Capt. Froid, of Alexandria. “They were the best of America’s youth.”

Stanley Froid, 82, was a sergeant and lives in California. Robert Froid lives in Florida.

The brothers were among thousands who came to the District on a blustery autumn day to remember the sacrifices of those who served in the country’s armed forces.

President Bush and Vice President Cheney, along with many national and local leaders, honored veterans in speeches and ceremonies. Mr. Cheney laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

At the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, hundreds gathered to hear remarks by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace and retired Army Gen. Peter Dawkins during a wreath-laying ceremony in front of the sleek, black wall of names.

Though the imposing memorials and the ceremonies combined to create a somber mood, three Western Maryland veterans infused a light-hearted moment into the day when they arrived on the Mall in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

“It was fun, but a little rough,” said Sgt. Jack Stenger, 79, a World War II veteran who has ridden in plenty of jeeps, trucks and tanks.

He was joined by former Sgt. David Shaw and former Cpl. Peter Lowenhaupt, all members of American Legion Post 42 in Hagerstown, Md.

The nearly 70-mile trip came courtesy of auxiliary post member Meg Galligan, who upon winning the Oscar Mayer “Win the Ride of Your Life” contest, requested that her friends be taken to the memorial in the infamous hot dog on wheels.

“They’ve told me some amazing stories, and I thought it would really be neat to bring them down here,” she said.

More somberly, Frank Aguerrebere, a former paratrooper standing alone at the World War II Memorial, recalled his days of valiant service.

“On D-Day, I was in England as a replacement, but I jumped in Holland,” said Mr. Aguerrebere, 80, a private in the 82nd Airborne Division. “I was in the Battle of the Bulge all the way to where we went to meet the Russians at the Elbe River.”

Mr. Aguerrebere leaned against the wall and marvelled at the crowds walking among the columns and gushing fountains.

“A lot of people are interested in Veterans Day,” he said. “They all come to see what the past has been. I’m very proud to have been in the service and done my part.”

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide