On Memorial Day: Uncle James gave his ‘last measure of devotion.’ We owe it to our fallen to remember

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High above the clouds on January 31, 1944, Second Lieutenant James Galliher was seated in the cramped front of his B-24 Liberator as it approached Udine, Italy. A 27-year-old assigned to the 717th Bomb Squadron of the 449th Bombardment Group, his unit’s target was the German airbase at Aviano.

Galliher’s mission was part of the Army Air Force’s strategic bombing campaign over Europe, which began in 1943. And while it was beginning to bear fruit, it had come at a staggering cost. By the Second World War’s end, some 88,000 American airmen would be lost, indicating a particularly devastating casualty rate.

The bright skies above Aviano soon turned to a hell of black aerial bursts as German flak batteries bombarded the

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