Seventy years ago, the 134th Infantry Regiment, part of the 35th Infantry Division,  arrived in Hannover, Germany to relieve the 60th Engineers Combat Battalion. The weather the morning of May 7, 1945 was partly cloudy and cool when word arrived at 8:15 a.m. of Germany’s surrender.

The war in Europe was over.

Tomorrow, at the National World War II Memorial, Veterans, active duty Servicemembers and others will join together to remember those who fought and those who died fighting in Europe. Our team will be there to bring you some of the pictures and stories of those Veterans.

Read how VE Day Marked End of Long Road for World War II Troops via DoD News, Defense Media Activity

One of those Veterans of WWII’s European campaign was my grandfather, Joseph Brigandi. A captain at the time of the surrender, he had survived the Battle of the Bulge and continued to work his way through Germany with the 134th. I discovered doing research for this article that on May 7, 1945, moments after hearing news of the German surrender,  my grandfather, along with two of his Lieutenants, was “directed to report to CP at 1630.”  At 4:30 p.m. the day of the surrender, Capt. Joseph Brigandi was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. His citation reads:

Joseph BrigandiCaptain Joseph Brigandi, O540530, Infantry, United States Army, for heroic service in connection with military operations against an enemy of the United States near Buer, Germany on 30 March 1945. When the forward movement of his unit was halted by intense enemy fire of all types at the approaches to Buer, Captain Brigandi, commanding Company L, 134th Infantry, moved among his troops, reorganized them and moved out at their head, so inspiring his men by his personal bravery and leadership that they moved relentlessly forward to secure the objective, capturing three enemy machine guns, four field guns and their crews, and a total of sixty-three other prisoners. Captain Brigandi’s aggressive actions under fire are in accord with military tradition. Entered military service from New York.

Joseph Brigandi remained in Germany after the war and would go on to serve in both Korea and Vietnam. He passed away in 2004. Tomorrow, as the world remembers V-E day, I will join with thousands of others at the WWII memorial who will pay tribute to what he and 12 million men and women like him did to serve our nation.

Do you have a family member who served in Europe during World War II?  The Friends of the National World War II Memorial wants you to #ProfileYourPride on social media tomorrow, May 8.  Visit their website to learn more.

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Published on May. 7, 2015

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