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Man learns of uncle’s Normandy heroism years later

todayJune 6, 2024 3

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TEA, S.D. (KELO) — A local man didn’t learn about his uncle’s heroic acts until years after he passed away.

Four of Joel Blasius’ uncles fought in World War II.

“These guys never talk much about the war, so we didn’t know a lot about it,” 4 Uncles in World War II Joel Blasius said.

All of them fought at the Battle of the Bulge, and all of them near, if not in, the battle of Normandy. A story from his Uncle Pat, who was building a bridge near the Rhine River, connects to a story from Blasius’s father-in-law.

“That bridge got knocked out three different times before they ever got it complete. Well, my dad-in-law and him were visiting and my dad-in-law says ‘Well I was waiting for the combat engineers to complete a bridge on the Rhine River so we could get across to the other side with our cannons.’ So basically they were in the same place at the same time but didn’t know each other,” Blasius said.

5 years of dreams

The most remarkable story is one Blasius and his family didn’t hear until three years ago, when a friend sent him an old newspaper article. Back in 1945, his Uncle Sylvester was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for his work at the battle of Normandy.

“They went in under cover of a thousand feet with these B-25 and took this armored division out. They ran low on fuel, returned to fuel up, went back and finished knocking them all out. And when they did get knocked out, they were only 200 yards from the American positions,” Blasius said.

While his family wasn’t able to thank his uncle for this act when he was alive, he is grateful for how all of his uncle’s served their country.

“Where would the world be if they wouldn’t have stopped the Nazis? I mean, it would have changed everything. So it was a war that had to be fought and also a war that had to be won by us,” Blasius said.

Written by: Badlands Classic Rock

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