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A Veteran With a Heart/Short Story for Veteran's Day

Updated on May 28, 2016
A markerRutgers-New Brunswick, 83 Somerset St, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA -
Rutgers-New Brunswick, 83 Somerset St, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
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A markerD day, Normandy -
Omaha Beach, France
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Kyle, too late for that Calculus class?

This story involves three lives and three generations:

Kyle Callahan, 55, Science Professor at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Mark Callahan Sr., his grandfather, who died two months ago at 92.

Mark Senior landed at Omaha beach Normandy on June 6, 1944. He proudly belonged to the 129th Infantry Division.

Henry O'Hanlon, his grandpa's fellow brother in arms, who met Mark Senior on June 3th, 1944.

Henry was certainly luckier; he had landed at Utah Beach, where only 197 American soldiers died out of 23,000. He belonged to the 4th Infantry Division.

New Brunswick New Jersey

Hamilton Street

Friday May 20, 2016

07:58:02 A.M.

As stated from the very beginning Kyle was already late for his class. He was supposed to be with his students before 8 a.m. at the New Brunswick Campus.

Hands on steering wheel...

He already thinks he is not going to make on time for the finals. Getting stuck in traffic on rush hour morning can be extremely disappointing. Just six minutes away from the Campus. So much on his mind makes him speed up. Wrong! So wrong, Kyle!

"On Raritan Avenue, I made a left turn toward River Rd., and to my bad luck at the very same time, I spotted this old-timer getting right on my way! In front of me!! It was too late and ... I sent this old timer flying a few yards away, " explained Kyle to the Police. -- (08:09:04 a.m.)

"I called you guys (paramedics) right away in desperate reaction. The Old man didn't have a cell, and was already complaining. Most likely broken ribs. His nose was bleeding and he... he was holding his left hand against his right hip in pain. I'm sorry for having this nervous wreck. School was not a priority anymore," kept saying Kyle with impotence and indescribable remorse.-- (08:11:04 a.m.)


Saving this man's life, and our Country...!


"Already 12:00 noon and... I Just found that this guy was at Normandy on June 6th 1944. How small world! My grandfather was there too. On different battalions, because my 'Pop-pop' was a gunner from the 129th Division, and Old timer Henry O', told me that he was a communications expert. However, they frequently met before V day on weekends and had the best time of their lives.

It's said that our grandparents brought 70,000 new brides from England solely. That explains the diversity in my grammar years!"


"Kyle, I mean Professor Callahan, this man needs an immediate blood transfusion... and by a good chance you happened to carry the same blood type: B+," affirmed Physician Albert Paoli from the E.R. at Saint Peter's University Hospital, here in New Brunswick.

"Am I the only one who can save him?" Asks Kyle really concerned...eyes wide open.


Doctor Paoli, and Kyle himself, notice a tattoo on Henry's right shoulder, 'Henry & Mark, real brothers in arms'

"What the F###!!? This man is the luckiest soul!

By coincidence, he was my granddad's best friend for sure. There was no doubt about it now. Sadly, Grandpa Mark died 2 months ago and was still missed by all."

Covering his face with both hands, "This time I was given the chance to save OLD timer Henry O," said Kyle. "The man that saved my granddad back in 1944!"

Omaha Beach Inferno! Oversexed! Overpaid? And finally over here!!
Omaha Beach Inferno! Oversexed! Overpaid? And finally over here!! | Source

"Open your eyes..."


"Henry sees me and gets confused; asking for my name again..." Henry O'Hanlon was very weak. "you still look so young Mark... what is...?"

"He's got me confused with my grandpa, which brought tears to my eyes. We embraced with no words and told him myself that... my Grandpa died 8 weeks ago."

"This is not fair," Said Henry with a deeper voice. Henry wept and exclaimed, "what goes around comes around. I was supposed to die on Normandy, on that freaking V-day (shaky voice), but bad weather pushed me to the most western end at Utah Beach... I was lucky to make it inland afterwards, and now... Mark's own blood comes to...(deeper breath) rescue me? Eat this, Steven Spielberg and your... Private Ryan!"

Henry paused. His blood pressure skyrocketed. He needed some air to stop the stamina that he held inside!

The Eastney Tavern
The Eastney Tavern | Source

Searching deeply in Henry's mind...


Hampshire, England

Saturday June 3th, 1944

23:02:33 Military time

The Eastney Tavern

100 Cromwell road; Three days before OPERATION OVERLORD...

American soldiers have been in the United Kingdom for several months and are waiting for the big moment to strike and counter attack Hitler and his insane hordes. Counterintelligence drifted cunningly Rommel's men to the Calais area.


By twist of fate, Henry and Mark met with several other uniformed comrades in arms. Henry would end on Omaha beach, and Mark would have to head to Utah beach to the western most area of Normandy. What history never told us is that...

Some men exchanged pictures and letters sent by their loved ones from the States.

"In case one of us don't make it... when we go back...(TEARS) home, give the biggest hug to my wife and kids..."

"The untold story was not revealed and was kept like a Templar initiation..."


Saint Peter's University Hospital

New Brunswick, New Jersey


The blood transfusion was a success! Henry is saved on this memorial weekend. After strictly health and safety procedures were met, Henry slowly regained consciousness. Kyle, 'Mark's grandson' comes to see him again. "I wish you luck sir and... Hopefully you can live longer to tell the tale of your life."

"So proud of you... and thankful, young man! I just wanted to give you something I held on to..."

"What is this? A faded picture from your wallet..?"

"If you check carefully, that was the picture of your grandmother and grandfather Mark, when they got married, back in 1941."

"Oh my God! This is... I mean, are you serious? Yeah there she is... grandma!! Oh my...on the best day of her life, at 21..!"

"Is time for me... then..."

"What do you mean Henry? Hello? Nurse... No!! Nurse!! Please old timer, don't!! Would you stay with us a little longer??"

Heart Failure, and a certain peace... made him leave this world to join Mark: His real brother in arms...

A veteran of war carried a secret mission of his own... To the last second of his life. Feeling accomplished, he felt that his time was due.

Anonymous heroes like him made a difference... changing the world in where we live today.

Did a family member OF YOURS, fight at World War II?

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Was a family member deployed to:??

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Maybe at...

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Submit a Comment

  • Lord De Cross profile image

    Joseph De Cross 3 years ago

    Thanks Johnsons427. Glad you enjoyed this hub. Happy memorial day!

  • profile image

    johnsons247 3 years ago

    Beautiful story, looking back to a time that so few remember. A time where true brotherhood could be the difference between life and death.

  • Lord De Cross profile image

    Joseph De Cross 3 years ago

    Most relished comment Nellieanna. Is our imperfection as humans. Since Cain and the fallen Angels, we have not come to tetms with our maker. Thanks for your appreciated comment!

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 3 years ago from TEXAS

    The Poll doesn't allow for enough separate but true choices! There were other battles and field of battle involved among my kin. But that's all right.

    We ARE all joined in the mutual and unanimous memorial day remembrances of all our brave heroes. There were so many stories like yours here which deserve to be told and preserved, but too few are.

    We cannot overdo the gratitude and admiration for the service persons who have gone to war in our behalf. Still is the grief that humans have come so far and still have not learned to settle differences with grace and mutual consideration. Still, afterwards, when the dead and maimed are shipped back to us, we go back to life as usual except for remembering those whose greatest sacrifice allows us to do so. Then, next time, we're called upon and expected to send our brightest and finest into some primitive fray to sacrifice theirs, as well. When will we become more enlightened, at least as much as most "lower" species who at least do not turn on and kill their own kind/species?

  • Lord De Cross profile image

    Joseph De Cross 3 years ago

    Thanks Deborah Murphy! The story is based on true accounts. So many gave their lives for our just heartbreaking how many died without sharing vivid moments like this. I appreciate your comments deeply!

  • profile image

    Deborah Murphy 3 years ago

    Dear Lord, Thank you for this is a beautiful story that gave me chills and emotional tears streaming down my cheeks. I'm so happy for Henry that got the job done after all those years!, still carrying the photo of Kyle's grand parents and was able to turn it! Wow!, what an amazing tribute to all who fought for our freedom!! Thank you again for reminding us how precious and wonderful life is and can be!!

    Thank you too all who has served as well

    Happy Memorial Day

  • Lord De Cross profile image

    Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

    Morning LaThing!

    Yeah, our stories can make you emotional and are inspired in true events.Sometimes we wish war was not an option, but as humans we are prone to scalate conflagrations that can become global with no more reasons but greed and the thirst for power.


  • LaThing profile image

    LaThing 5 years ago from From a World Within, USA

    Captivating story, such heartrending conclusion! I am wiping my tears..... OK, I can be very emotional sometimes.......

    Enjoyed reading it as always. Thanks for sharing it. Voting up, and beautiful.....

  • Lord De Cross profile image

    Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

    Crying with you Tillsontitan. This piece is so emotive, that we cannot understand how it came so together. Thanks!


  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

    You were right, move over Spielberg and Saving Pvt. Ryan. What a touching and ironic story. You reeled me in and had me to the very last word, tears and all. This was a beautiful, moving story.

    My father-in-law was in WWII on the island of Saipan. At 89 he was just honored as Grand Marshall in or hometown parade.

    Voted this all the way across (except funny of course.)

  • Lord De Cross profile image

    Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

    Hi There Rahul,

    Thanks for stopping by. Unknown heroes abound, and they are a witness of a past that was lived with honor. Much appreciated by reading us.


  • rahul0324 profile image

    Jessee R 5 years ago from Gurgaon, India

    A fantastic tribute to the ultimate heroes of our country!

    Brilliant work

  • Lord De Cross profile image

    Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

    Christy, Cindy and Angela, This story came from nowhere. Inspiration and historical facts came in handy. We are afraid our muses are around more than before. Thanks so much for commenting and making a difference in our journey as writers. You have a wonderful day.


  • Angela Brummer profile image

    Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

    Pretty much all of our fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and sons, brothers served. Great hub!

  • Cyndi10 profile image

    Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

    Beautifully, beautifully written. Shared.

  • ChristyWrites profile image

    Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    What a moving tribute. You really do make us stop and reflect on history, family and love.

  • Lord De Cross profile image

    Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

    MORNING Justateacher,

    Catching up with comments. Wow! What a family! You must've witnessed a lot of touring and deployments. Sometimes life marks our path with things that happen around us. Your family must've wore that old glory flag in their hearts for sure.

  • justateacher profile image

    LaDena Campbell 5 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

    What a great tribute Lord! One of m uncles was at Iwo Jima, one somewhere else in WW II, a third did three tours in dad was in the Navy, stepfather in the Air Force and my brother was in Desert Storm and is still in the thank you for the tribute!(There were many more service men in my family, but too many to mention!)

  • Lord De Cross profile image

    Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

    Tammy Sweet,

    You have lived long enough to know what,or how it feels to be American. Your strength and your wit comes from your great granparents and THEIR great grandparents. We still have hope for this land of the brave..! The story about Kyle and Mark and Henry represent the link from the past and the stubborn hope of our future. Thanks for being the way you are and have a great week!


  • tammyswallow profile image

    Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

    I found this very moving. My own Pop Pop from New Jersey served in WWII. He passed away 3 years ago and I think of him on Memorial Day. He was a proud man and would not discuss the things he saw and did there. These men were a very special breed. Our country lost so much as this generation died out. There are so few left today. They were incredible men. Wonderful and touching hub.

  • Lord De Cross profile image

    Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

    Thanks to you BObbi,

    Now you are getting ourselves emotional. This was our tribute to our fallen heroes, and uknown bravery that want to get lost with time. Veterans from D-Day are almost all gone, and that is sad. Thanks for your kind words!

  • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

    PurvisBobbi44 5 years ago from Florida


    This was so beautifully sad that I am still crying.

    You can write the best hubs---I felt I was right there looking over their shoulders, and whispering my concerns.

    I voted up, awesome and beautiful.

    Your Hub Friend,


  • Lord De Cross profile image

    Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

    Thanks Caliper 50! You really left a comment worth the hub and more..! Those soldiers were brave and unique. Was shocked to know that the survivors brought 70,000 European brides to America. That wasn't a thin line... between love and hate. Thanks for your insightful commemorative comment! Peace!


  • 50 Caliber profile image

    50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

    Most excellent tribute in written word to soldiers who were so committed to the task of getting from the landing craft to the dry land while bouncing off the bottom in thrusts forward and up for their next breath of air, unable to swim with the 90 pounds of gear that doubled in weight as it became saturated with bloody salt water. A loose description of a since passed uncle, my father was 1 of 9 who served in WWII and the youngest in Korea. My father was an island hopper who toured the ruins, walking on "Hot ground" at Hiroshima after the bomb, it killed many but saved 1000s had America had to land there as they did each island. They served only one tour back then, from the start until the end. Hard to think that way because due to the style of war and the new aircraft, in Vietnam one might find himself the only one in the platoon up for rotation home and a copter was dispatched to bring me out to catch a transport to a base with long range flights to the states, so much changed. On D-Day more soldiers were lost in 30 minutes than the whole of Iraq and Afghanistan, not because the commitment is less but the technology is mechanized. Imagine a drone or 6 hitting the machine gun nests and bunkers of concrete prior to the landing, that would have saved many thousands of lives, as would have shoulder fired heat seeking missiles against the German aircraft, it would have rained Fockers and Stukas into the ocean stopping the strafing on the beach. Amazing hub, voted up,



  • Lord De Cross profile image

    Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

    The same to you Gypsy Rose! Fallen and foregotten heroes should be raised and praised. The older they get, the more they remember....and sometimes that could mean or signal their final departure from this Valley of tears.


  • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

    Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

    Voted up and interesting. The world is certainly not as large as we imagine.Amazing how the accident brought Kyle and Henry together. Sad it ended like it did. Great tribute to soldiers and their remembrances. For all they did it's important to remember and honor them. Passing this on and Happy Memorial Day.

  • Lord De Cross profile image

    Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

    Wow Becky! I added more polls for everyone to pour a special tribute... in their own right! You should be so proud!! The research took us 4 days, and it was fun.Operation Overlord TOOK over 2,400,000 soldiers to the continental Europe in 90 days. They will be remembered for decades and maybe centuries to come...!


  • Lord De Cross profile image

    Joseph De Cross 5 years ago


    These were fine soldiers, that were raised above the financial ashes from the crisis of 1929-1933. On the very first 10 minutes of reaching Omaha Shores, thousands died, and the survivors were brave enough to compose themselves and keep on going...! Good bless these MEN and their bravery!


  • Randy Godwin profile image

    Randy Godwin 5 years ago from Southern Georgia

    My father also landed on Omaha beach on D-Day and went on to fight in the Battle of the Bulge under Patton in the 3rd army.

    His two brothers fought in the war also. One in the Pacific and the other in the Aleutians. A very timely and well written piece. Thank you for your efforts to remember these fine soldiers.


  • Becky Katz profile image

    Becky Katz 5 years ago from Hereford, AZ

    Beautiful tribute to our soldiers. I have relatives that have fought in every war that the U.S. has been involved in. An uncle at Iwo Jima and a great-uncle at Normandy. The same great-uncle ended up at the Ardennes Forest. My husband served four tours in Vietnam. Cousins at all of the newer wars.

  • Lord De Cross profile image

    Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

    Thanks Debbie, sweet friend! Happy Memorial Day! Thanks for the kudos!


  • Deborah Brooks profile image

    Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

    Lord WOW this is wonderful.. what a great tribute my friend..My father was in Korea and Vietnam twice.

    happy Memorial day my friend