We just celebrated D-Day.

If you live in 04074, you might have heard of D-Day Veteran Ken Dolloff or Sonny Noel. Both, now deceased, were involved with Scarborough American Legion baseball for 50 years.

If you live in Westbrook, you might know Luther Small. Luther, now deceased, was general manager of the Manchester Post Legion baseball team in Westbrook for nearly half a century. Johnny Cumberland, Don Douglas, others went on to pro careers thanks to the fact that Luther knew a lot about baseball; and also gave a damn about them a trait many WWII veterans had who worked with kids.

Was D-Day a memorable military event? Maybe.

Was that the significance of it – that, as they said recently on a Fox News show, more bombs, bullets, tanks, ships, planes etc. etc. were used that day than on any other day in military history?

Nope.

Says who?

Says the guys who were there.

Dolloff was a soft-spoken, respectful, low-key guy who participated in town affairs in 04074 land after returning home from WWII.

Guys in the community used to fuss over him.

One in particular, who was big in town government in the l970s and 80s, used to drive Ken crazy, I learned later.

The guy would say at Memorial Day ceremonies at Town Hall, or Fourth of July events at the Maine Veterans Home on Route 1: “And we are honored to have here today Ken Dolloff, veteran of D-Day, who braved the fusillade of bullets, bombs, and German machine gunners to storm the beaches of Normandy” blah blah blah.

“God, he really grated on me,” said Ken, by this time a resident of a long-term care facility in Portland with his wife. “H always made it sound like soldiers are eager to rush into a “hail of bullets,” and all that stuff. War is the opposite soldiers are trying NOT to rush into bullets. That is how you get killed when you don’t have to.”

If you have paid attention the past 20 years, you know the U.S. has been “active” in the world militarily. Iraq is one place. Afghanistan is another. There are other countries we are urged to jump into with planes and tanks – Ukraine for one.

Ken disliked what he called “toy soldiers,” the guys who would send others to battle but were never willing to go themselves.

Who was on his “Dishonor Honor Roll?” Now-Vice President Biden; former Vice President Cheney; and former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.

He also didn’t like the U.S. going it alone.

“Why are we the only country doing the fighting?” he would ask occasionally.

One thing that Dolloff said that made fighting at D-Day “easy for us…” was that he and his fellow soldiers felt: “The whole world was behind us.”

Imagine the whole world today agreeing on anything?

Dan Warren is a lawyer in Scarborough. He can be reached by private message on Facebook at the Jones&Warren Attorneys at Law page, or buy email at [email protected].


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