PM, June 6, 1946 (photos by Steven Derry)
“Under the command of Gen. Eisenhower, Allied naval forces, supported by strong air forces, began landing operations this morning on the northern coast of France.”
Two years ago this morning that communique was all a waiting world knew of the most ambitious military undertaking ever launched. Now most of the facts are known and, by many, are half forgotten. The men whose pictures appear on this page are not apt to forget, because they were there on D-Day. Most of them lived through it, only to be wounded later in the battles that followed the successful landing. they were interviewed at the Army’s Halloran General Hospital, on Staten Island.”
“… I think we can keep another war from happening if we keep the defeated countries defeated.”
“… I still hate their guts.”
“… I think folks have been taught a lesson – this war was too costly in lives and money. Nobody ever really wins a war.”
“… I think the war was worth fighting and I sure hope it’s the last one.”
After leaving Halloran, he wrote me, “It was the first place in America I hit after more than a year out of the country. Coming back wounded, I was afraid that I’d enter a vacuum, that nobody would give a damn. But at Halloran I never had a chance to be lonely and there were times I actually forgot I was in a hospital.” Recently I spent an afternoon at Halloran and found out what my friend meant.
Halloran lies approximately in the centre of Staten Island, about a half hour by bus from the ferry terminal at St. George. It’s a sprawling group of low, red-brick Colonial buildings, dominated by a seven-story structure with four wings jutting, like spokes, from the middle. I was met at the main building—the seven-story one—by one of its officials, Captain Max Lipsky, a stocky, jovial man, who suggested that the Red Cross recreation building would be the best place for me to talk with some of the patients and see how they spend their free time. Most of the ambulatory patients, the ones who can get around, drop in there during the afternoon and early evening, Captain Lipsky told me, and free and easy is the rule.
“Nobody ever really wins a war.”