“It got me thinking: Who were these lads?” King said of his encounter.
Since then, he has made it his mission to talk to servicemen and women about their time there.
“The last 30 years I’ve made it a labor of love to find as many and to record as many stories as possible for antiquity, for posterity,” he said.
King said many of the people he talked to had refused to talk about their experience with anyone, including family members. It wasn't until he and his team of researchers started asking questions that they talked.
Since he started collecting their stories, King has also made it a mission to tell as many people as possible about the American victory in Belgium in the bitterly cold winter of 1945.
“Doing my absolute, up-most best to keep these stories in the public psyche, to keep them circulating and that is what I’m still doing today,” he said.
King said the Battle of the Bulge, otherwise known as the Ardennes Offensive, was as multi-faceted as an "Antwerp diamond." The front stretched 90 miles and covered three distinct areas with a variety of terrain.
In the end, King said it was the Americans' ability to assume command when needed that won out.
“What transpired was the capacity of the American solider - the GI – to take control of the situation and operate autonomously down to the squad level. Where the Germans couldn’t operate beneath regimental level without written orders,” he said.
Randy Garcia is the founder and CEO of the Investment Counsel Company. He organized the ceremony after visiting Normandy for the 75th anniversary of the Allied landing.
While there, he traveled through Belgium and into Germany and met King.
He also met a veteran and when Garcia thanked the man for his service, he said something interesting back.
"He said, 'don't thank me, I should be thanking you for not forgetting me,'" Garcia said.
Martin King, Historian and Author; Randy Garcia, founder and CEO, Investment Counsel Company.
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