Thank you to Mitchell Levin for his letter to the editor published in the June 6th edition of the Gazette.
“On June 6, we will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Normandy invasion, one of the greatest moments in our history. In Cedar Rapids, we have the unique opportunity to say thanks to one of those who stormed ashore on Omaha Beach. Marion native, Captain Bert Katz, who is living here in Cedar Rapids and his platoon hit Easy Red Sector of Omaha Beach, where the worst fighting of the day took place, at H hour plus seven. In other words, they were under enemy fire seven minutes after D-Day had begun. Within a short period of time, Katz had lost twenty-three of his men and he was wounded. But they hung on, doing their job under withering fire. Katz led his men across Europe including the decisive Battle of the Bulge where ordinary GI’s turned disaster into a stunning victory. A citizen soldier, Katz came home, took off his uniform, became a successful businessman, raised a family and helped to improve the community. Besides thanking Katz for his service on D-Day, we should thank him for standing up for the cause of racial justice. That platoon he commanded was an all African-American unit. In the days of the segregated army there were plenty of people who did not think African-Americans could cut it as soldiers and plenty of officers shunned those commands. Not Katz. And in that he showed a moral courage on the same level as the physical courage when he led his men across that Normandy Beach.”