Our country is lucky enough to have thousands of people volunteer and risk their lives every day, putting the priority of the country above their own. As a country, we have witnessed two World Wars, and countless other battles and conflicts. With thousands of films, TV shows, and books about these wars, and the people that fought in them, sometimes we forget that each one of those people had a life before their military service. Even more so, we forget that so many young people have lost their lives serving their country.
John R. Towle was born in Cleveland on October 19th, 1924. Growing up on E.73rd street, Towle attended St. Agnes school in his younger years. In 1943 Towle decided to enlist in the United States Military as a member of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He served in a variety of countries during his service, including South Africa and Italy. However, Towle was in the Netherlands when he would perform the act that would later earn him a Medal of Honor.
It’s September 21st, 1944. Towle is now 19 years old and he and his division were serving in Oosterhout, Holland. US forces were in the process of claiming the strategic position at the Nijmegen bridgehead, which was currently occupied by German forces. With a strong enemy force, and limited defensive options, Towle decided to leave the safety of his foxhole and confront the enemy head on. Using his rocket launcher, Towle was able to hit two enemy tanks, and prevent them from advancing further. Towle then proceeded to enter a nearby house which 9 Germans had been using as a strategic point and continued to secure the building with no additional help.
Upon exiting the house, Towle retreated to another position to take another shot at the enemy tanks, where he was fatally struck by a mortar shell. Towle’s actions were nothing short of being absolutely heroic, and six months after his death he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions. He was buried back in his hometown of Cleveland, in Calvary Cemetery.
Towle’s story is not only one of pure dedication and self-sacrifice to one’s sacrifice to one’s country, and deserves proper remembrance and prayer.
Information gathered from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_R._Towle
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Post written by Katie Karpinski