Our nation and world recently lost a great man. On November 4, 2019, at the age of 97, Mr. Bert Chandler was re-united with the love-of-his-life, Esther. I had the honor of meeting Mr. Chandler and his daughter Cheri in Normandy, France earlier this year for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. I was truly touched by his soft-spoken nature, kindness, and gentle heart. In July, I had the opportunity to spend more time with Mr. Chandler, and I can honestly say I've never met a more impressive man.
Mr. Chandler was part of the 16th Regiment, 1st Division, and as a squad leader, he led his men into Omaha Beach on the first wave of D-Day, June 6, 1944. Although a few D-Day Veterans still live among us, and I've had the honor to meet many of them, Mr. Chandler is the only man I've met who was legitimately one of the first Americans to set foot on Omaha Beach during what I believe to be the most important military mission in the history of our world. Assaulting into the teeth of the German Atlantic Wall, he lost two-thirds of his squad, including many of his best friends. Mr. Chandler survived D-Day, and fought through France before he was wounded prior to the Battle of the Bulge.
In this interview, Mr. Chandler takes us through the story of his life: his childhood in Minnesota, military service, return to civilian life, and retirement in Nampa, Idaho. He also shows us his private World War II memorabilia album, which provides a rare opportunity to see many pictures and pieces of memorabilia from that unique period in our world's history.
To me, Mr. Chandler embodied everything we know to be true about the 'Greatest Generation.' Humble and soft-spoken, he never understood why he received so much attention. In his mind, he simply did his job, and when his mission was complete, he wanted to be left alone. An incredibly strong man, he hunted elk into his mid-nineties and lived by himself (with his two cats) until his passing earlier this month. The greatest of men, from the greatest of generations, words cannot express how strongly I feel about Mr. Chandler. I am proud to call him my friend, and I hope you enjoy his incredible story. Please join me in honoring him.