• Sergeant
    Roland Ehlers

    Roland Ehlers and his brother Walter planned to meet on the beach on the afternoon on June 6, 1944, after one of the biggest invasions in human history. The brothers, who enlisted together and fought alongside each other in North Africa and Sicily, were separated for D-Day due to a military policy intended to protect families.

  • Roland Ehlers. Courtesy of the Ehlers family.
    Roland (right) and his brother Walt (left) with their mother, Marie M. Ehlers, in November 1941. Courtesy of the Ehlers family.
    Roland's mother received a telegram on July 5, 1944, informing her that he was wounded in action on D-Day. She wrote this letter to him that same day, stating that she saw him as a strong soldier "ready to fight that great battle" and that when he returned home he would "still be my boy." She did not yet know of his death. Courtesy of the Ehlers family.

    Roland didn’t make it to the meeting. Walter was part of the invasion on Omaha Beach. Later in Normandy, his heroics earned him a Medal of Honor. Roland was also sent to Omaha Beach with Company K of the 1st Infantry Division's 18th Infantry Regiment.

    Roland died after a mortar shell hit his landing craft. Walter didn’t find out for a month, when he ran into Roland’s commander, who delivered the bad news.

  • The letter Roland's mother sent him after learning he was wounded was returned to her in this enveloped stamped "DECEASED," unopened and unread. Courtesy of the Ehlers family.
  • Some time after writing what would eventually be her last letter to her son Roland, Marie Ehlers received this telegram informing her that he had been killed in action while storming Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. Courtesy of the Ehlers family.
  • Ehlers’s story is now part of Dog Tag Experience, which tailors the Museum experience like never before, creating an unforgettable personal connection to history. It begins in a recreated train station, where visitors use a digitally enabled "dog tag" to select one of 29 WWII participants whose story they will follow. With a tap of the digital dog tag, that individual's story begins to unfold―first in the train car, then throughout Campaigns of Courage, where video kiosks highlight pivotal moments in the war through the eyes of that servicemember, nurse, or Home Front worker. Along with the next chapter of the personal story, each kiosk also contains a wealth of related information―including digital artifacts, archival images, and oral histories―that users can tag and collect to access later from home, creating an interactive experience that continues long after the Museum visit is over.

This Memorial Day, Honor Sergeant Roland Ehlers

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