Perales said it’s important to remember a great but humble man. This idea was first floated while Martin was alive, but Martin rejected the idea unless the proposed monument also named all of his brothers in arms, Perales recalled.
“It had to be about his brothers,” he said.
The Allied victory in World War II was not inevitable, Perales said.
“Our youth just don’t know what that was like,” the commissioner also said, referring to the Second World War. “I don’t, and I’ve tried. The fact is, what Pee Wee and his colleagues did, it was amazing.”
In the June 1944 D-Day invasion, James Martin was among the first Allied paratroopers to jump into Normandy with the 101st Airborne, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. At 19 years old, he trained for that moment since joining the Army in 1942. His unit’s objective was to capture two bridges and keep the Germans from sending reinforcements to the beaches.
Martin was one of the original “Toccoa Men” in the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment at Camp Toccoa in 1942. He was given the nickname “Pee Wee” because he was the lightest man in the regiment.
Tiffany said he spoke with a commander of the 101st at a recent service for Martin. “He confirmed for me that Jim was the last of the original Toccoa 506th 101st Airborne. It’s really the end of a generation,” he said.
Further information about the memorial park, along with a way to donate, may be found at https://www.sugarcreektownship.com/344/Sugarcreek-Veterans-Memorial
To donate to the statue of Mr. Martin, please visit: https://www.jimpeeweemartin.com/