Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall

Essential Pittsburgh
2:51 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Local Men Remember D-Day, 70 Years Later

Warren Goss in 1944, he was part of the first wave of the Normandy invasion
Heather McClain 90.5 WESA

In the early morning hours of June 6,1944, tens of thousands of men from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and several other nations poured out of landing crafts on the beaches of northern France.

It was the largest amphibious landing in history, and had been preceded by more than a year of planning, deception, and training. The Allied powers lost at least twice as many men as their enemy, but succeeded in their goal of establishing a foothold in Nazi-occupied France.

Friday marks the 70th anniversary of the famous battle, so Essential Pittsburgh talked with three Pittsburgh veterans of World War II who landed on the beaches of Normandy.

As part of the first wave of the invasion, Warren Goss explained that he had been trained extensively for months before June 6, but nothing could prepare him for what happened during the invasion.

“We’re trained for everything except what really happens. You’re coming in and you see a whole boatload of Higgins boat soldiers disappear, it gets hit direct, it sinks. You see it not making it, you don’t see this in your maneuvers. You don’t expect to see the buddy beside you get hit and you don’t even know it because you don’t have time to look at him. It’s just completely different than what you were trained for, but you’re still trained to go ahead and you obey what you’re supposed to do and you did it.”

Michael Vernillo and Ralph Russo, landed on the beach in the second wave of the invasion. They were recently awarded the Legion d'Honneur at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland, the highest military honor issued by the French.

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3:30 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Soldiers and Sailors Hosts Memorial Day Celebration

At Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum, Memorial Day is more than just hotdogs and hamburgers.

“Over the years, as we had more and more conflicts, the building became a symbol representative of a memorial for all veterans of all branches of service. The only one like it of its kind in the nation,” said Soldiers and Sailors President and CEO John McCabe.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are more than 995,000 veterans living in Pennsylvania.

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3:30 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Re-enactments to Bring Gettysburg to Life for 150th Anniversary

The Battle of Gettysburg was fought 150 years ago, and thousands of people will mark the occasion through re-enactments, workshops, performances and more.
Credit J. Todd Poling / Flickr

It was 150 years ago that the battle considered to be the turning point of the Civil War took place in a field in Pennsylvania.

Each year, thousands of people re-enact the Battle of Gettysburg, and thousands turn out to watch. This year, for the 150th anniversary, the events will be even larger than normal.

“There’ll be two major re-enactments probably attracting 12,000 to 15,000 re-enactors each, and then hundreds of thousands of spectators,” said Andy Masich, president and CEO of the Heinz History Center.  

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3:30 am
Mon May 27, 2013

Pittsburgh Bridge to be Renamed for Vietnam War Hero

“I’m very excited; it’s what I wanted and I’m getting it,” said Clara Prom Burns, reacting to news that the 31st Bridge in Pittsburgh will be renamed to honor her brother.

Gov. Tom Corbett signed legislation Thursday to designate that span over the Allegheny River as the “William Raymond Prom Memorial Bridge,” the first bridge in Pittsburgh named for a Vietnam War hero.

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Medal of Honor Exhibit
3:30 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Soldiers and Sailors Unveils Medal of Honor Exhibit

If you’ve ever wondered what a Congressional Medal of Honor looks like but have never had a close up look, now’s your chance.

The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Oakland opens an exhibit Sunday that displays its five Medals of Honor.

The Medal of Honor is the United States’ highest military award and is presented for "personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty."  Since the beginning of the Civil War there have been 3,460 Medal of Honor recipients.

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