World War II veterans to be honored at 65th D-Day commemoration

RIPLEY – Recalling his last conversation with his younger brother when the two crossed paths as young soldiers in Italy in 1944 still evokes powerful emotion for Ripley’s Ausbin Hurt. Though it was the last time the 92-year-old World War II veteran would see his brother, Malcolm Travis Hurt, his last letter from Malcolm gives him comfort. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Springdale Baptist Church will expand its twice-a-month gathering for seniors to host a reception to honor World War II veterans to commemorate the 65th Anniversary of D-Day – June 4, 1944, the day the Allies invaded Europe. When Ausbin, who was with the 105th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, learned Malcolm’s 36th Infantry Division was nearby, he was granted permission to find him. “While we were standing there he had tears pouring down his face, and I said ‘What’s wrong?’ and he said, ‘I won’t get to go back home,’” Ausbin remembered. “Then I asked him, ‘Have you ever asked your Savior to come into your heart and save your soul?’ He told me no.” Two weeks later, though, Ausbin got a letter from Malcolm: “I’ve accepted Jesus as my Savior, but I still don’t think I’ll ever get to go home.” Two years later, Ausbin said, his brother’s body was sent home to be buried. Ausbin Hurt came home from the war on March 11, 1945, but not before being wounded in December 1944, taking shrapnel in his shoulder, liver and lung. Along with the group of 12 men he commanded as a sergeant manning Anti-Aircraft weapons, his team was credited with shooting down 34 planes on March 23, 1943. Ausbin Hurt’s health may keep him away from Tuesday’s event, but the sacrifices he, his brother and many others made for their country will be honored. Randy Roberts will have his collection of World War II memorabilia on display, and many individuals and churches from the surrounding community have been invited. “We have about 20 who come to activities about twice a month,” said Brother Stacy McKee. “Mr. Roberts was going to bring his collection and set it up, then somebody said why not open it up to everybody. It seemed like a great time for us to do that.” Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.

Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal