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A final salute to a fallen hero

Back on June 6, 1944, a nervous young paratrooper from Waltham, Massachusetts named Berge Avadanian was getting ready to be dropped into France as part of the D-Day invasion. Like many of those very brave men, he had a sense of fatality about the mission. He was convinced he would die that day. But he stepped forward, boarded the plane, and did his duty that day, as did countless other heroes.

Avadanian was correct. He did, indeed, die on June 6.

He survived the invasion, and went on to win a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts. He survived the war, and came home to serve another 30 years in the Coast Guard. And a lifelong baseball fan (he talked baseball with his buddies before the jump to keep their minds off their likely fate), last fall he got to attend Game Five of the American League championship game of his beloved Red Sox, who went on to win their first World Series since 1918 (the year he was born). An honored guest of the team, he was called on to cry "Play Ball!" and then watch the Sox beat the hated Yankees.

And then, on June 6, 2005, Berge Avadanian finally joined all his buddies he lost on that Longest Day, and who have fallen since.

The day will soon come when we lose the last World War II veteran, the last member of the Greatest Generation. And we will all be poorer on that day.

(Update: Link to Boston Herald story here. My apologies for forgetting it earlier.)

Comments (9)

We are here because they we... (Below threshold)
Dan Patterson:

We are here because they were there.

Dan Patterson

Jay: A well written tribute... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

Jay: A well written tribute to one of our heros. Thanks.

wow. sad, but a long life.... (Below threshold)

wow. sad, but a long life.

Excellent Post. This is wha... (Below threshold)

Excellent Post. This is what this country is made of and this is the hero we all dream of being.

... Berge Avadanian fina... (Below threshold)

... Berge Avadanian finally joined all his buddies he lost on that Longest Day, and who have fallen since.

Like so many Veterans who have returned to a hostile culture with the images of War ingrained within his memory ... Mr. Avadanian may now be truly at ... parade rest? Passing "in review" on this date is most unique. I salute all Veterans, past and present ... truly, we wouldn't be "here" if it wasn't for their sacrifice ...

Very nice posting!

Great post.... (Below threshold)

Great post.

A real American hero who se... (Below threshold)

A real American hero who set an example we can all aspire to. Let us never forget the sacrifice of all who have answered the call to protect our way of life.
Great posting.
Jonathan Womack

And to think that surviving... (Below threshold)

And to think that surviving D-Day was nearly likelier for him than seeing the Red Sox win the World Series . . .

I had met Berge Avadanian a... (Below threshold)

I had met Berge Avadanian about 4 years ago.We are both members of the 82nd Airborne Association , LTG James Gavin Chapter. When I first met Berge, I had realized, this is not an ordinary man. He is a mans man, man among men. There was a mystique about him and his presence was always noticed. Berge is a very special Soldier,Paratrooper, family man, and the type of person ,you wish were in your immediate family. I got very close to him the last few months as I visited regularly, and we exchanged stories and experiences. He is very missed by many and especially I. I am grateful for the moments we shared, I am happy I could make him smile even when he was not feeling well. He made me a richer person and I am very honored to have known him. I will never forget my friendship I have enjoyed. May you rest in piece Berge.
John F DeCosta "Airborne"






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