By Navidad 1944, my father was 18 and living in Sagua La Grande, Cuba. As I heard many times, the Canto family had lived there since the 1840’s.
My father was also following the world news on radio and newspapers. He’d devour any US newspaper that made its way to Sagua. My father’s hobbies were collecting stamps and listening to Florida stations broadcasting late night reports about the war.
As he remembered, the Allies were optimistic that the war was finally coming to an end.
Unfortunately, a couple of events brought reality to the front pages.
On this day in 1944, the brutal Battle of The Bulge began. It was Germany’s last roar and the attack cost them 120,000 men, 1,600 planes, and 700 tanks. They had nothing left after that but the war went on until April 1945.
The US and allies had rough losses too: 80,000 killed, wounded, or missing in action. The US had 5,000 casualties or the heaviest single battle toll ever.
We recall the men who died in the battle and all of the soldiers who fought back the Nazi attack.
The day before, Glenn Miller was lost over The English Channel.
My father was a huge Miller fan and loved the big band sound of that era. He recalls many radio stations doing long Glenn Miller music segments in memory of the band leader.
1944 was a very tough year, from Europe to the Pacific, from D-Day in June to the Battle of The Bulge in December and the loss of Glenn Miller in December.
The European phase of World War II finally ended in May 1945.