WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Ceremonial shots echo around the globe, as a decorated veteran is put to rest 75 years after he helped save the free world.
Thursday, Sgt. Carl Mann Sr. was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with military honors. He joins more than 400,000 of his brothers-in-arms from just about every American generation.
Exactly 75 years earlier, June 6th 1944, Sgt. Mann – and 160,000 allied troops – launched a surprise attack on German-occupied France and changed the course of history. It’s known as D-Day.
“He started at Omaha Beach with those men, and he’s going to be laid to rest with some of those men, and there’s no way that’s a coincidence,” said Miles Mann, Carl’s youngest son.
Sgt. Mann earned three Purple Hearts and seven Bronze Stars in his service to the country during WWII, but was proudest of serving under Gen. George Patton. Mann came back from the war, and built himself a loving family in Mount Vernon, Indiana.
“He was faithful to our mother, faithful to us, faithful to God, he was faithful to his country,” Sgt. Mann’s eldest son Carl Mann II recalled.
“I had the opportunity to call him dad for 56-and-a-half years and that’s how I’ll remember him,” Miles added.
For most of his life, Sgt. Mann Sr. didn’t talk about his experiences in WWII. But he opened up in his later years, after one of his grandkids asked which side of the war the U.S. was on. He would go on to share his stories with his family and school groups.
“He really wanted the message to get back out,” said Carl Mann II, “to remind the younger folks of this nation what the cost of our freedom really was.”
But, in Sgt. Mann Sr.’s eyes nothing separated his service from that of the other 16-million who signed up to serve their country. “He just wanted to be counted with one of those folks,” said Miles Mann, “he was our hero… he would shy away from that term.”
On this historic day though, the man who rejected the title he earned was laid to rest as a symbol of his generation’s courage and sacrifice.