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November 12, 2004 - Image 24

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-11-12

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Brig. Gen. William Lenaers awards Harry Glassman his Bronze Star.

A Star for Harry

WWII vet gets medal for heroism — 60 years later.

Special to the Jewish News


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ike many other veterans of
World War II, Harry Glassman,
87, of Southfield is reluctant to
talk about his combat experiences. But
that didn't stop his relatives and friends
from talking about them — and get-
ting him the medal he deserved for
heroism 60 years ago.
Just in time for this year's celebration
of Veterans Day, Glassman received the
Bronze Star from Brig. Gen. William
M. Lenaers, head of the U.S. Army
Tank-Automotive Command in
Warren. The ceremony came after
more than two years of research to
replace military records lost in a fire
and the intervention of U.S. Sen. Carl
Levin, D-Mich. Also attending were
Glassman's daughter, Lea Trager of
Waterford, and two of his four grand-
"I really didn't want to make a big
thing out of this and talk about that
terrible time in my life, but I'm hon-
ored to get the medal, and I'm glad it's
over with," said Glassman. More than
400,000 members of the U.S. military
died in the war, thousands more were
wounded. World War II veterans are
now dying off at a rate of about 1,000
a week.


Glassman was drafted into the army
and served 1943-46 as a private. He
was a Browning automatic rifle gunner
in the 79th Infantry Division and
landed on Utah Beach in Normandy
six days after D-Day (June 6, 1944).
He was taking part in the "Battle for
Bloody Hill 255" as part of his outfit's
role in capturing the German-held
port city of Cherbourg when a shell
from a German 88 mm gun landed
near him and "blew me six or seven
feet in the air," he recalled. "I started
bleeding from leg wounds, and blood
was coming out of the soles of my
While making his way back to a
first-aid station, Glassman heard a
wounded comrade moaning: "Harry,
Harry, don't leave me." Glassman
picked him up and carried him over
two fences back to the station. "I
couldn't just leave him behind,"
Glassman explained, "I could hear
bullets whizzing all around us as I car-
ried him. How we got out of there, I'll
never know. Most of my unit was
massacred. There were bodies every-
where. I'll never forget that sight and
all orthe blood."
Glassman received a Purple Heart
for his wounds at the time, but appar-
ently no one thought of rewarding
him for his heroism with a medal. He

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