Reflections on D-Day | Eastern North Carolina Now

Publisher's Note: Kathy Manos Penn is a native of the “Big Apple,” who settled in the “Peach City” — Atlanta. A former English teacher now happily retired from a corporate career in communications, she writes a weekly column for the Dunwoody Crier and the Highlands Newspaper. Read her blogs and columns and purchase her books, “The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday” and “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch,” on her website or Amazon.

Kathy Manos Penn with Lord Banjo
    My husband is passionate about WWII history and holds veterans from that war in the highest esteem. As a VFW member, he was fortunate to meet and become friends with several WWII veterans, but they've all passed away now. And with his connections, I was fortunate to get to know them and write about their stories. What an amazing group of men, every one of them humble about his experience and service.

    For us, the opportunity to bicycle Normandy in June 2014 was an awe-inspiring experience — the countryside with its still visible bunkers from the war plus visits to Omaha Beach, Utah Beach, and myriad other sites connected to WWII — and was fodder for several columns that year, the 60th anniversary of D-Day. The excerpt below is about one of the amazing stories we learned on our visit to the Utah Beach Museum.

  • "One story that caught our attention was that of Major David Dewhurst, an Army Air Force squad commander who flew the 'final bombing run on the German stronghold WN5, moments before the Allied landing at Utah Beach,' only to die in an auto wreck not long after returning home to Texas. I discovered later that his sons had only discovered their father's story upon visiting Utah Beach in 2007 and seeing his name and photo."

    Imagine our surprise in March of this year when we met a WWII veteran who knew Major Dewhurst — who in fact, flew with him on that mission. As my husband always does, he approached the gentleman and thanked him for his service. They chatted briefly as we were leaving a restaurant. My husband was so intrigued by the man's role in the war, that he dropped me back by our hotel and returned to speak further with him. That's when he learned this veteran had been Major Dewhurst's bombardier on that and many other missions.

    The following words from David Dewhurst, Jr., captured in an article in the "Daily Texan," describe his reactions to his discovery.

  • "'The memorial was to my dad and it had his picture. As you'd imagine, it was pretty emotional," Dewhurst said. 'I probably stood there for an hour. I couldn't move, I just couldn't move.'
  • Dewhurst said the events of that day prompted him to do two things: revitalize the museum, which he and his family have contributed millions of dollars to since that day, and to seek out the remaining members of his father's outfit.
  • Dewhurst said he found four of them and, aside from asking about their experience of the war, he asked them to describe his father.
  • 'Of course, not knowing him, I kept asking these four people that had flown with him, that had known him: how he acted, how he reacted, what kind of guy was he?' Dewhurst said. 'Did he get mad? How did he handle himself? I knew that he occasionally smoked cigars: did he try to do that on bombing runs? Answer: no, but yes.'
  • ... Dewhurst said many people share similar stories. ... visiting the battle sites and the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial will 'make you proud to be an American. It will remind you that freedom is not free.'"

    In these troubled times when the news trumpets what so many think is wrong with our country, stories like this remind me what is right with it.

Award-winning Author Kathy Manos Penn is a Georgia resident. Find her cozy mysteries on Amazon. Contact her at
Go Back

Leave a Guest Comment

Your Name or Alias
Your Email Address ( your email address will not be published)
Enter Your Comment ( no code or urls allowed, text only please )

As COVID-19 Variant of Concern Spreads Rapidly, Health Officials Urge North Carolinians To Get Vaccinated The Ink Penn, Public Perspective, Body & Soul COVID-19 Situation Update: June 16


Latest Body & Soul

Governor Roy Cooper declared today Overdose Awareness Day in North Carolina. Overdose Awareness Day is about remembering those whose lives have been lost to overdose, honoring family and community grief, and renewing our commitment to ending the overdose crisis in North Carolina.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has announced those who lost Food and Nutrition Services benefits through card skimming, cloning or other forms of fraud are eligible to have their stolen FNS benefits (formerly known as food stamps) replaced.
People are being misled about studies examining the effectiveness of face masks against COVID, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Government retirees object to a proposed "writ of prohibition" from the N.C. Supreme Court that would stop them from pursuing a class-action lawsuit. The retirees want the state to restore premium-free health benefits they enjoyed before a change in state law in 2011.
Join the conversation as state Senator Jim Burgin (R – Harnett) and Locke senior legal fellow Jon Guze highlight the numerous personal and policy challenges those battling severe mental illness confront in their quest for health.


Medicaid expansion will no longer launch Oct. 1 as the North Carolina General Assembly failed to take needed action to meet that date.
The city lied to you about your utility bill and you ought to be angry.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has become aware of a potential scam targeting Food and Nutrition Services beneficiaries.
As families and children enter a new school year, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is launching new public service announcements to showcase how communities across the state rely on early childhood teachers.
The member of the Finnish parliament facing prosecution over her religious beliefs was back in court this week, facing a trial for expressing her Christian views on marriage and sexuality.


The origins of labor Day are rather dubious, born from congressional guilt of Americans shot down, by the Army and U.S. Marshalls, while exercising their first amendment right to congregate and protest during the Pullman Strike in Haymarket Square in Chicago on may 4, 1886.


Back to Top