Take a look back at news and photos that occurred 25, 50, and 100 years ago on June 4th in Franklin County, PA.
25 years Ago:
Saturday, June 4, 1994
D-Day – June 4, 1944 – Fifty years ago today, local soldiers had long since joined the rest of the industrialized world in a war. The fighting dragged on, both in Europe and the Pacific. The war still dominated the headlines, but day to day life continued.
In the days preceding June 6, front page headlines declared, “Allied forces mark gains on the Asiatic front,” but were joined by “Vacation Bible School Starts Monday,” and “Group certified upon completion of eighth grade.”
The eight-page Public Opinion cost 4 cents and carried regular items such as “Winning the War,” “Weapons of War,” and DeWitt Mac Kenzie’s “The War Today.”
But in the evening paper on Tuesday, June 6, just one story prevailed, “ Allies Invade Normandy Coast of France.” For two weeks the newspaper featured stories of just a handful of the people and families whose lives were touched by the D-Day Invasion. Many more deserve recognition.
On Monday, millions around the world will commemorate the 50th anniversary of an attack that would eventually turn the tide of the war in favor of the United States and her allies.
Today, ”Public Opinion” will complete its commemoration of the local people who played their roll in world history with the stories of four men.
SOLE SURVIVOR -Chambersburg man landed with 11, came home alone. He remembers and so do others. Dale Shoop, 69, is one of the old men who vacation on a white board beach in Ocean City, Maryland. “I’m still afraid of water,” Shoop said. “If I go to the beach, I don’t go in the water cause I can’t swim. I sit on the boardwalk and watch the others (my family) swim. I just sit on the bench and watch people go by.”
Shoop, the sole survivor of a 12 man demolition crew, floated onto Normandy beach on June 6, 1944, thanks to an incoming tide and his platoon sergeant. Enemy shelling forced his landing craft to pull up about two miles from shore. “The sight of the shoreline scared the seasickness out of me, “ Shoop said.
He and the others went over the side. Shoop inflated his life belt and bobbled up and down in six-foot swells behind a sergeant who had roped them together. The sergeant towed him in. Shoop never saw him again.
What makes a courageous man? “One who thinks of his fellow man,” Shoop said. “I guess that’s not a good answer.”
Shoop packed 100 pounds on his back, including 12 blocks of TNT. He and another soldier were to clear a path up the beach for the infantry and a wider path back for the tanks. He was scared, strong and 19 years old. The oldest in his unit was 25 years old.
During the landing, Shoop was unable to find the second man of his team, the man who could detonate the explosives. He heard another man yell, “I’m the cap man.” The Germans held the high ground and sometimes waited for engineers set the charges, then aimed for the charge. The explosion would take out anyone near the charge. “I thought we wouldn’t get off the beach,” Shoop said. “I thought we would be annihilated on the beach.”
The day was a long one, but Shoop finally cleared his two paths, and by midafternoon the beach was secured. Afterwards, a funeral service was said for those who lost their lives.
What was his toughest memory? “The hardest thing was losing your buddies,” Shoop said. After D-Day, a devastated and shattered Shoop hooked up with another unit.
Why was he the one to survive? “I wasn’t any smarter than anyone else,” he said. With all the shootings and explosives, the unit was completely lost.”
“D-Day was the battle of all battles. The others were of no comparison.”
50 Years Ago:
Wednesday, June 4, 1969
Chambersburg – “Soldier Earns Purple Heart” – Army Specialist Five John D. Kolsun. R.R.S. of Chambersburg received the Purple Heart May 11th near Piekiu, Vietnam. A reconnaissance sergeant in Headquarters and Service Battery, 4th Battalion of the 4th Infantry Division, 42nd Artillery, Spec 3 Kolsun entered the army in July 1967, completed basic training at Ft Benning, Ga, and was stationed in Germany prior to his arrival overseas June.
100 Years Ago:
Wednesday, June 4, 1919
35 High School Graduates Above 90; Speakers Announced: The five honored speakers of Chambersburg High School were announced yesterday by Principal Shuck. The students are as follows; Marie Shriver, Edna Stamey, Helen Metler, Irene Etler, and Anna Palmer.
Besides these, are thirty other students of this class, whose averages place them on the first honor roll of the school, their averages being above 90.