A Veterans Day Message from 111th Soldier Roland Unangst

Posted: November 5, 2014 in Men of the 111th Ordnance Company
Roland Unangst, 1944

Roland Unangst, 1944

It may interest you to know that the “Memories of Roland Unangst” page on this website (at the top, under “Memories of the Men”) consistently ranks as one of the blog’s top-viewed pages. Since Ed and I started this project 14 months ago, Unangst’s memoir has been visited nearly 700 times by people from all over the world. We thank his children for sharing it with us.

For Veterans Day this year, I thought it would be fitting to reproduce a portion of it here. He wrote the following to his grandchildren in May 1997 to explain to them the meaning of Memorial Day.

“Without remembrance, sacrifice is meaningless. All Americans need to recall, on special occasions, the untimely deaths of their fellow countrymen during wartime. Far too often, the entire nation takes for granted the freedoms all Americans enjoy. Everyone should remember those freedoms were PAID for with the lives of others few of us actually knew. That’s why THEY are all remembered on one very special day. It’s kinda like the national debt that can only be truly paid for by each and every American. By honoring the nation’s war dead, we preserve their memory and thus their service and sacrifice for future generations.

I am lucky. I served our nation in a time of need and went on to enjoy life, wife and family. And after 75 years it is easy for me to remember ALL who served, regardless of the conflict or the year. They all had one thing in common–love and loyalty to country. Did you ever stop and think about the goals they achieved? I find that I am kinda bonded to ALL who made the greatest sacrifice possible–giving one’s own life, so those of us who still live–ARE FREE. A simple means of paying tribute, pausing for a few moments of personal silence, is available to one and all.

Attending a commemorative ceremony is the most visible way of demonstrating remembrance: placing flags and flowers at grave sites and wearing buddy poppies are yet other examples of showing your thanks. It’s the thought that counts. And do help instill the remembrance in the young.

As America’s 12 million war veterans fast disappear from the landscape, there are fewer and fewer left to carry the torch of remembrance. Such traditions will live on only if there is a special movement to which that torch can be passed.




  1. Linda Unangstcampbell says:

    Thank you Andrea for posting this. Dad would be so happy to see that we are trying to instill in those still living to not forget the men and women who sacrificed so much for all of us and our country, and to remember the brave young men and women still doing so to this day.


  2. mary eastman says:

    We should be forever grateful to the men and women who have bravely served for our country.

  3. Tom Sedlacek says:

    Very well said!

    Sent from my iPhone


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