LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18)– Memorial Day is about remembering those who gave their lives for the safety of our country. LEX 18’s Claire Kopsky spoke with a Laurel County man who served on the front lines with many of those we honor today.
Dan “Old Man” Hale, 99, served under General Patton in World War II. He begins every day with a shave — the same thing he has done for decades.
“I shaved on the front lines,” Hale said. “Take that old helmet, turn it upside down. Get cold water in it. My beard would get out long and I never could stand it.”
He shines his shoes next, an act not taken for granted.
“To the Normandy Beachheads of France,” he said. “I wasn’t in the first wave. I was in the second bunch. First wave had to wade in. Second, we went over the ship on cargo nets down into a tug boat that would run us into the shore.”
For him, holidays have a different meaning.
“Christmas day of 1944, I think we were fighting in the Battle of the Bulge,” Hale said.
He risked his freedom so others wouldn’t have to worry.
“Frightening in them hay rows of France and Germany — that was the dangerous part.,” Hale told LEX18. “See I come almost to being a prisoner. First battle we jumped off in, we got pinned down by the hedgerow.”
On Memorial Day, Hale wants everyone to remember the soldiers who lost their lives for this country.
“They should remember all the boys that fought for this country, you know it?” said Hale. “That fought for it and died for it that’s what they ought to remember.”