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VETERAN RECALLS ROLE IN D-DAY WITH PRIDE

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Woolas Macey knows why World War II veterans call Omaha Beach the "bloody Omaha." The Salt Lake veteran was in the D-day landing that killed 9,000 Americans in just one day. Macey managed to crawl up to a German pillbox and, with two clips of his M1, take out the guns that had killed 85 percent of his outfit.

Nine days after landing, he was felled by a German land mine and lost his leg. He remembers regaining consciousness to find a Catholic priest bending over him saying, "Do you have any last words?" Macey roared back, "If you think I'm going to die, you're crazy. This is one way to get out of the Army!"Macey will recount his D-day experiences at a Veterans Day commemoration by the Princess Timpanogos Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The program will be at noon Monday, Nov. 18, in the social room at Zion Summit Condominium, 241 N. Vine St. Visitors are welcome and are encouraged to carpool, as parking is limited.

Macey was 20 years old when he was assigned the task of blowing up rolls of barbed wire on the beach. He carried two 20-pound satchel charges of dynamite and torpedoes that weighed another 20 pounds along with his rifle and cartridge belt. The waters were mined so heavily that the men were dropped off in 10 feet of water. Macey had to jettison the dynamite and torpedoes to be able to swim. "I doggy-paddled over 100 yards to get to the beach," Macey said.

He and the others that made it out of the water were pinned down by machine-gun fire. A large 88 gun was also blasting the landing craft out of the water. After going over the top of the hill where the machine gun was, Macey ran at an angle and got in the line of a tree. "I got an idea where it (the machine gun) was and put a new clip in my M1. I dumped all eight shells out, and the machine gun quit firing," Macey said. He saw the two young Germans who had been shooting the advancing Americans. "I remember thinking very clearly, `You'll never kill another American soldier,' " he said.

"They were blond and blue-eyed and couldn't have been over 18," Macey said. "There I was, 20. What a way to fight a war."

It turned out that a German in an U.S. Army uniform was directing fire from the big guns that were devastating the landing craft. Macey watched another soldier take out the enemy spy.

Macey will return for the first time next year to that stretch of beach he came to know so well. "I will get to that cemetery and stand in the middle of it and salute my buddies," he said.

Macey's outfit received the highest French award for bravery. Many of the survivors went on to fight the Battle of the Bulge. Macey knows that in America today we have hate groups and problems, but he says, "I still get goose bumps when I see the Star-Spangled Banner."

Once at an event, Macey was standing next to some teenage girls who chattered through the playing of the national anthem. Macey says he leaned over to the girl next to him and said, "Honey, will you do me a favor? That song and flag really mean a lot to me. Because of that flag, I'm in the condition I'm in. Would you please put your hand over your heart for me?" Macey said the girls did as he suggested and thanked him as well.

Macey is proud to to be a part of history. "When you think about it, D-day was the initial start of defeating Hitler and the German Army." He is grateful for the medical care afforded him after he lost his leg. "I'm not handicapped; I'm just temporarily slowed down." Also blind in one eye as a result of diabetes, he will learn soon whether he will be able to regain his vision.

"I feel if you can whip whatever problem mentally, 99 percent of physical problems can be whipped," Macey said.