In celebration of the 243rd birthday of the U.S. Army on June 14, we are celebrating one Sunrise resident who is a veteran of World War II.
“I always knew I wanted to be a soldier,” says Edward Good, a Sunrise at North Farmington Hills, MI, resident.
Ed was a senior in high school in December 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. When the draft age was lowered to 18 about a year later, Ed left college to enlist in the United States Army.
Ed spent his first year in the Army in a medical role. But when his time came, he was ready to join the action in a combat role. In the early summer of 1943, Ed joined an infantry division as a rifleman and a machine gunner.
“I was so glad to be an honest-to-goodness soldier,” he said.
That June, Ed was at home on leave when D-Day, the Allied invasion on the beaches of Normandy, occurred.
“I heard the reports on the radio in my mother’s kitchen,” said Ed. “I could hear the ‘whoop-whoop-whoop’ that the destroyers made, and I knew right away this was the long-awaited day of the big invasion.”
After his leave was over, Ed was placed on a machine gun crew in North Carolina, but action was limited.
“By this point, I was really frustrated. I was bored and there was nothing happening,” he said. “So when they asked for volunteers for special hazardous duty, I signed up for that. A week later, a team came around and asked for volunteers for parachute school. I jumped at the chance. I thought to myself that if I turn this down I’ll never know whether I’m a coward.”
After parachute school, Ed became a part of the 17th Airborne Division and prepared for his role in Operation Varsity.
“Operation Varsity came Saturday, March 24,” Ed said. “The significant thing about the jump is it was the largest airborne event of the war—two whole airborne divisions, British and American. There were over 10,000 paratroopers and glider riders. We lost over 1,000, the worst day of airborne history. This was worse than D-Day or Market Garden.”
As the Allied army crossed the Rhine, the airborne divisions dropped on the other side to protect them from the German soldiers. The courageous actions of Ed and the other paratroopers enabled the army to demoralize the Germans and win the day.
“German soldiers were surrendering everywhere because it had become clear shortly after our jump that there was no point in their continuing to fight; they were overwhelmed,” said Ed.
On May 8, Ed heard the news of the German surrender, and in December 1945, he was discharged from the Army.
This year, Ed was recognized by The Scions of the 17th Airborne, an organization which honors these soldiers’ service every year by selecting veterans to journey to the battlefields where they helped defeat fascism in Europe. Ed flew to Brussels, Belgium to visit the site of the Battle of the Bulge, and then traveled to Wesel, Germany, along the Rhine River, where Operation Varsity took place.
Upon his return home, Sunrise at North Farmington Hills welcomed Ed with a party! Ed told stories about his time in the Army, showed pictures of his trip, and answered questions from residents.
And, just a few weeks ago, Ed had the honor of riding as grand marshal of the Farmington Hills Memorial Day Parade!
Sunrise is grateful to Ed and to all of our resident veterans for their bravery and sacrifice. We are proud to serve those who have served our country so well.
Through the Aid and Attendance Program, war veterans and their spouses may be eligible to receive close to $2,000 per month to help defray the cost of assisted living. Click here to learn more!