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A Special Life Remembered

       I had three priceless phone conversations with Kelso Horne. This Trooper, 87 at the time, did not hesitate one moment, 'Yes', he remembered saying, "Louis Spera, he was the rifleman always at my right side." Had many memories and he would try to get some on tape for Louis' family.
       One [recollection] that quickly came to mind as he spoke was, "Louie and I were sharing a fox hole in Normandy. Flak ricocheted off a nearby tree, and totally demolished the stock of the rifle in Louie's hands. It unnerved Louis and unnerved me but we both walked away unhurt."
       This man was on the cover of Life magazine, August 14, 1944. Kelso went on to tell me he and Louie were walking side-by-side along a dirt road in Normandy when the picture was snapped.
       Even though it's 55 years later, I am glad to have learned all that I have and been able to put it in writing for the Spera Family History. There have been a few who feel it should have been left in the past, but I feel this information came for a reason as strangely it all started, coming around the 55th Anniversary of the September 2, 1944 accident In Fulbeck, England.
       Emotionally, I have done just fine with all of this activity. It has been exciting meeting by mail or phone, these men who knew "Louie, the man," better than we his family could have, as we missed out on that very important part of his life! The period of his transformation from teenager to manhood. There was only one time tears flowed.
       On the morning of December 31, 1999 the phone rang. My hello was answered with, "Angelina?" "This is Guido Pelini, (Orland Park, Illinois). I fought side by side with Louie all through Normandy!"  After a long conversation, he ended by saying, "they say there is a 'hereafter,' if this is so, beside Louie is where I once again want to be!" Hearing those words made the tears flow big time.
       It has been a heart-warming experience to have learned of the camaraderie, love, and loyalty that existed among these young Americans. Both men and officers, without these important values, could never have passed the rigorous training to become American paratroopers. Feelings remain for each other throughout their lives. It's of no wonder Louie was always proud of being a paratrooper and proud of the men he served with. I've read the 'life that touches the hearts of others goes on forever.' These men of I Company, 508 Regiment, 82nd Airborne, have proved it.

Angelina Spera Fuller
April 10, 2001


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