HOUSTON, Miss. (WCBI) – The Fourth of July Holiday Week will always be etched in the mind of a World War Two veteran and retired Houston dentist. Every year at this time, he pauses to reflect on what has made us a great nation.
On July 4th, 1944 Army Sargent Herman K. Smith of the 28th Army Infantry Division, along with other troops, landed at Utah Beach along the coast of Normandy.
“I was thankful that I didn’t get in on the invasion a little over three weeks before. That’s when so many died,” said Dr. Smith.
Many paid the ultimate sacrifice, on foreign soil, almost seven decades ago, as part of Operation Overlord.
“We were replacements for people who had died or been wounded. We had to replace those that they were short of. The 28th Infantry had to be replaced continually,” said Smith.
Only 20 years old at the time, Smith was wounded twice during his tour of duty. Once in the leg, and the military expert in mortars was himself hit by a blast from enemy mortar fire.
“The shrapnel in the mortar shells comes out at an upward flash. And I had a hole in my helmet about the size of a quarter. It scattered, pieces went into my eyebrow here, pieces in the back of my head. And a piece of metal went into my shoulder,” said Smith.
Almost seven decades later more of that shrapnel was discovered, *this year*, during Smith’s visit to the VA Hospital. So this Fourth of July Week we should not forget those who have gone before us, and how they have contributed to our well being. It certainly seems like, well at least fro this holiday season, this 91 year old hero remembers.
“Most of it, you forget a lot you know, over the years,” said Smith.
During World War Two Doctor Smith later had a military assignment guarding American prisoners.