Lt. Gen. Harry W. O. Kinnard 1915 – 2009



On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, the men received General McAuliffe’s Christmas greetings. “What’s merry about all this, you ask?” was the opening line. “Just this: We have stopped cold everything that has been thrown at us from the North, East, South and West. We have identifications from four German Panzer Divisions, two German Infantry Divisions and one German Parachute Division. . . . The Germans surround us, their radios blare our doom. Their Commander demanded our surrender in the following impudent arrogance.” (There followed the four paragraph message “to the U.S.A. Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne” from “the German Commander,” demanding an “honorable surrender to save the encircled U.S.A. troops from total annihilation,” dated December 22.)

McAuliffe’s message continued: “The German Commander received the following reply: ’22 December 1944. To the German Commander: NUTS! The American Commander.’

“We are giving our country and our loved ones at home a worthy Christmas present and being privileged to take part in this gallant feat of arms are truly making for ourselves a Merry Christmas. A. C. McAuliffe, Commanding.”

– From Band of Brothers, by Stephen E. Ambrose

It was on December 22, 1944, more than six months after he parachuted into Normandy, France, that Lt. Col. Harry W. O. Kinnard–later Lt. Gen. Harry W. O. Kinnard–urged his commanding officer, Brig. Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe, to deliver just that message to the Germans in response to their demands for surrender in the snowy landscape in and around the Belgian town of Bastogne.

Nuts.

Courage and patriotism and bravery and bravado had never before and have never since been captured in such simple and appropriate terms. The previous days and weeks and months had been among the most brutal of their lives. They parachuted into a foreign land, held the hands of dying loved ones, fought through rain and snow and mud and swamp and injury, all motivated by a call to arms for not only America but for the human race, all driven by the knowledge that, through their blood, sweat, tears and more blood, they were the best chance the world had to stop evil in its tracks.

According to a report released today by the Associated Press, Lt. Gen. Harry W. O. Kinnard died last week. Kinnard, a West Pointer and 30-year Army veteran who, later in his military career, helped redefine military operations by designing and orchestrating the use of helicopters in the course of infantry warfare, is a genuine American hero.

They all are. These men, gentle giants greying and dying each and every day, personify what made America great — patriotism, courage, altruism, drive to be the best and do their very best for America. Freedom lived and died on their watch, and by the dirt under their fingernails and the blood on their knuckles and the grit in their eye, they never let the latter happen. Thousands upon thousands gave their lives in foreign lands, on largely uninhabited islands in the south Pacific, all to save their country, the very nation they were sworn to protect and defend, from the growing tide of evil permeating other lands across the globe.

We must never let their memory to fade. We must tell their stories to our children, to our children’s children, and we must commit ourselves to ensuring that this nation never succumbs to evil, or lays prostrate in waiting through complacency and corruption and the overbloated sense of entitlement.

God bless America, and may God bless Lt. Gen. Harry Kinnard and those like him who fought for Her and died for Her.

Rest in peace.

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    … and this is one of the reasons I liked Gran Torino. The past is really folding away and the foundation we grew up with is fading. It was a cultural commentary – and unless we change it, it will never be agin. Kinnard joins the ranks of American heroes, all patriots. RIP.

  2. Ed says:

    My wife and I are going to see GT, and with parents formerly and kids currently in the military, I am sure it will be a worthwhile show. Mom helped in Europe to dedicate a few cemeteries/memorials after WW2 and dads were Korea/Vietnam era. Some of their qualities live on in the next generation. GeneralK: RIP.

  3. Anonymous says:

    According to an Obit. of Gen. Kinnard, he graduated from West Point in 1939 and by 1944 was a Lt. Col. — In times of war men were promoted more on merit, and what he accomplished in 5 years is amazing. RIP, sir.

    A peace-time vet.

  4. Still a Patriot says:

    Thanks, Jeff, for this important reminder of the real heroes among us. I am ashamed of the way our country has treated it's veterans.
    One of the many reasons I supported Mike Huckabee was his strong stand on this problem. He has created a "Veteran's Bill of Rights" – check it out on his website under issues.
    I've been reading your blog for some time & I want to thank you for the work you have done to bring us such intelligent & thought-provoking articles.
    God bless you!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I salute General Kinnard and all those thru the years who have fought and died for our freedom and so that others can experience the same freedoms. Let us never forget our debt to them or take these feedoms lightly. We must be vigilant to guard what they endeavored to preserve for us. When we see our Constitution trampled on, are we to sit idly by and not even raise a voice of protest?….I say “NUTS!” Are we to bow to political correctness and be afraid to ‘insult’ those who wish to harm our citizens? “NUTS!” Are we to allow our elected officials to lead us to destruction because of their selfish, unpatriotic agendas? “NUTS!” God Bless all those who have served our country…how I wish we had in Washington someone with the courage these brave men and women have shown in defense of their country.

  6. cher says:

    BEAUTIFUL!!!

  7. PattyW says:

    This post was touching and timely. I found out yesterday that my uncle had died on Sunday. He had served in the Pacific theater of WW2 and attended as many of his reunions as he was able. He told us of things that happened on the carrier he was stationed on that seem so far removed from our own reality and yet these men are our fathers, uncles, grandfathers. My uncle will be sorely missed, just as all fallen soldiers are. God bless them and their families. We owe them more than we know.

  8. Gordon says:

    A thought about Fitzgerald and other U.S. Attorneys.

    Many newly installed Presidents remove many of the U.S. Attorneys and replace them with their own appointees. Bill Clinton actually fired them all to help secure his criminal empire.

    If any, or all, of the U.S. Attorneys wanted to stay, wouldn’t you think it would be possible for them to object to their removal and make PEBO prove that he was qualified to act as presiident in order for him to possess the authority to fire them?

    Wouldn’t you think that Fitzy would be just waiting for PEBO to do such a stupid thing and jump all over him with an application to the Supremes for a declaratory judgement as to PEBO’s qualifications… or file a Quo Warranto motion with the Supremes forcing PEBO to identify himself and prove he is qualified to serve as POTUS. Wouldn’t any of those U.S. Attorneys have “Standing”?

    Can somebody help me out here?

    Gordon

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