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A Special Life Remembered

       "The walk" that shouts out to all looking on, "I am an American Paratrooper, proud to be serving my Country!" This last moment, also is still photographed in my mind.
       A year later, on September 2, 1944, we lost him forever. We were told by telegram, "there had been an accident in England." He had survived D-Day and the whole invasion without a scratch, only to die in an accident? That is all we ever knew until in 1994, when military historian, Barry Nichols, from Carmichael, California tracked me down.
       His search began when he visited Normandy on the 50th Anniversary of D-Day. When he came to see me, [it] brought me a fit - Don Jakeway's book, "Paratrooper Do or Die." This book documents 'the accident.' We finally learned details surrounding Louie's death.
       On August 5, 1999, I received yet another book titled "The Devil's Tale" - a blow by blow description of the "Red Devil's" of the 82nd Airborne's experiences in Europe by author Zig Boroughs, Greenwood, South Carolina, (retired professor Ralph Boroughs from Lander University). He included a letter explaining he had read, "Gold Star Mother" and "Last Furlough Home," which had been published in Madera's book, "From Whence We Came."  He asked for my permission to use some of the contents for the book he was writing, "The 508th Connection." Proudly, I gave him permission.
       He, in turn, contacted surviving members of I Company for their input. Once that happened, the response from these men has been awesome. Those contacting me knew Louie well. Louie walked this early only 20 years, 4 months and 17 days, but the impact and legacy he left behind has touched countless lives and he has never been forgotten.
       Barry Nichols attended I Company's (508th Paratrooper Regiment's) 55th reunion in San Diego last year (1999), where the mere mention of Louie's name caught the attention of all present.  September of '43 to 44', was part of Louie's life we knew very little about. But it started coming together with stories and recollections from the men who were close to him during that period of time in WWII, especially during the invasion of Normandy, Some information came through Zig Boroughs. Some came directly to me, both by letters and phone conversations.
       Once Zig Borough's had located me, I learned much about our brother Louie the paratrooper and the life he had experienced during the time our teenaged Louie made his transformation to the adult Louie.
       What I was learning from these 'troopers' touched my heart. They were not surprised when Louie exchanged duties with Charles Strong that day of the accident. As Louie was always more comfortable doing physical labor than KP. It was a real shocker to all when he was killed, Several times I heard, "He was quite a guy, always doing more than his share."


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