98-Year-Old World War II Veteran Recalls 'Divine Intervention' Moment
He is believed to be the last living person in Frederick County, Maryland who invaded Normandy on D-Day.
Guy Whidden, Jr. is a 98-year-old veteran of World War II from Frederick County, Maryland. He is believed to be the county’s last living person who invaded Normandy on D-Day. He said he was able to survive the war because of “divine intervention.”
He was interviewed by The Epoch Times during a local commemoration of that critical day on June 6, 2021, the 77th anniversary of D-Day.
Whidden served as a member of the 502nd Infantry Parachute Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. He was just 300 feet off the ground when he jumped onto Normandy soil. The scene, he recalled, was dramatic: paratroopers hit the ground before their chutes opened, planes were crashing into the ocean, and bullets were being levied at and from the aircraft overhead.
Before touching the ground, he felt a hit in his chest and thought he had been shot. He reached toward his chest and pulled out his prayer book. A fragment of metal from a mortar shell was stuck to the back cover of the book. “That was divine intervention,” he remembers thinking. “Somebody’s looking after me.”
Once on land, the enemy fire resulted in Whidden falling into a ditch for safety. A German officer approached him and pinned him to the ground, pointing a pistol at him. Whidden tried to grab his trench knife but could not retrieve it.
The officer stared at Whidden for a while and then, inexplicably, surrendered the pistol to him, Whidden stated in past interviews with The Frederick News-Post. He thought perhaps he reminded the officer of one of his own children, so the officer could not pull the trigger.
Weighing only 80 or so pounds in high school, Whidden was bullied regularly and timid as a result. However, his time in the military changed him. With a strong faith in God, he learned to be brave and face the unknown. He was able to accomplish this because he was receiving “divine intervention,” he said.
He does not refer to himself as a hero for his actions during the war but claims that he was just “one of the lucky ones.” He said that the real heroes are the ones who gave their lives for their country.
Whidden authored a book, “Between the Lines and Beyond: Letters of a 101st Airborne Paratrooper.” He has been interviewed numerous times for his story and given many talks to children and college students. He feels sorry for the partisan perspectives that are creating such discord in our nation, “Back in my day, parties got along well together.” He has observed that college campuses are particularly intolerant of open dialogue and are no longer bastions of free speech and diverse thinking.
Despite all of the bad actors in the world and the difficulties experienced with the pandemic this past year, Whidden remains optimistic. “I love people … I like to see them happy.” During his talks, he always tells people to “stay strong. Keep smiling and try to see the sunny side of life.”
By Frank Liang
Yiskah Dean contributed to this report.
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