WWII Museum remembers fallen heroes

WWII Museum remembers fallen heroes

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - People packed the National World War II Museum on Monday to thank those who sacrificed and hear stories of heroes who should not be forgotten.

World War II Veteran Russell Mayeur was overwhelmed with emotion.

"My brother was in the Marines, and he wasn't killed, but he was wounded. When he did come home, he was never the same," Mayeur said.

Fewer than a dozen World War II veterans stood to be honored during the ceremony.

"This was not all free. It's worth living for and fighting for," said Catherine Metcalf.

Metcalf's father and uncle served together in World War II.

"They joined together in 1940. Their father has told them he'd served in Germany and he told them it's coming again," Metcalf said.

Her dad, Staff Sgt. Walter Ehlers, and uncle, Sgt. Roland Ehlers were stationed together in North Africa and Italy. They were eventually put in different platoons, though, because high casualties were expected.

"My dad's landing craft was sent in first, when the wave pinned them on the beach, and he was able to get his entire platoon over Easy Red Beach without casualty. He said it was the proudest memory of his war experience," says Metcalf.

In the days after the invasion, Staff Sgt. Walter Ehlers was awarded the Medal of Honor.

"It was for taking out several machine gun nests, and for then standing with his riflemen back to back and firing allowing their platoon to withdraw," says Metcalf.

Ehlers though, would learn a few months later, that his brother, Sgt. Roland did not survive.

"His brother was on a landing craft that was hit by a German mortar and he died before he ever made land," says Metcalf.

Before his passing last year, Ehlers spoke with the World War II Museum saying, " I consider my brother a hero because he paid the supreme sacrifice. After it was all over, I had to keep fighting."

"He never forgot Roland. I spent a week with him in hospice. He said, you tell my Medal of Honor brothers that I love them. The Medal of Honor is the greatest honor of my life and America is the best country on Earth," says Metcalf.

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