This June 6 will mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day — when 156,000 Allied forces landed along the Normandy beaches in France to start an invasion that would ultimately bring an end to World War II in Europe. Over 4,000 Allied troops died during that one day, and thousands more were injured.
Joining the campaign six weeks after that day was Army medic George Chall, who not only treated his fellow countrymen but also, thanks to his skills in German, helped wounded Germans.
During this special anniversary year, Chall, who is now 96, wants to return to those beaches where he found himself as a young man. And thanks to the fundraising efforts from a group of students from two Chapel Hill High Schools, North Carolina, the veteran will soon be able to cross the ocean to pay his respects to those who lost their lives in commemorative ceremonies over a week.
In a video posted by WRAL news, one student, Elena Lowinger explained how important this fundraiser was to her: “I’m Jewish, so I’ve always known a lot about World War II affecting my family in a different way than most. I just was so excited when I got the opportunity to honor these heroes that saved my relatives.”
The students were very inspired after meeting Chall, who is also involved in veterans’ causes, describing him as a “superhuman being, an amazing person.” One student, Kaelyn Elien, said, “To think that that person would give up everything, their family, their career, what they wanted to do to go sacrifice themselves for people they don’t even know, it’s just really incredible and really selfless.”
In fact Chall’s selfless acts were recently acknowledged by the French government, which awarded him their highest decoration, the Légion d’Honneur, in November 2018.
While the students have given up their weekends and free time in their bid to help these heroic veterans, they explain on their fundraising website:
“Our dream is to honor and serve our veterans … before the memories fade.” They have raised enough money to send Chall and a family member over to France, they are still actively raising funds to honor further veterans.
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