Leonard Cadenhead prayed for return to sweetheart on D-Day - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Leonard Cadenhead prayed for return to sweetheart on D-Day

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Friday marks 70 years since the greatest seaborne assault known as D-Day. So we meet a veteran who survived the invasion and fought on through the war to get back to the woman in England who would be his partner for life.

"It was a terrible day," Leon Cadenhead remembers.

He hit the beach at Normandy, France three hours after the first landings.  He says the worst of the fighting was over.  But it was still bad. 

"There was still a lot of bombs falling and mortar shells, a lot of small arms fire," he says. "We lost several men in our outfit making the invasion." 

A total of about 5,000 allied soldiers lost their lives out of a force of more than 150-thousand troops on five thousand ships. They stormed the shores, facing fierce German fire.  Cadenhead remembers the words of a chaplain before the attack.

'"Fellow soldiers, have you thought about where you're going to spend eternity.'  He said, 'You know in a little while they're going to put us on those boats out there and they're going to send us straight to France in the path of the army over there and they're going to try to kill every one of you.'"

Leonard kept an old, pocket Bible. He says he prayed for protection so that he could get back to Eileen.
"I said, 'I got a pretty little gal in England that wants to marry me, and I've got to get through this war.'" he said with a chuckle. "And so I guess He did."

"I wrote him every day," Eilleen says, noEileenonly a hint of a British accent.

Leonard pushed on with the Allies through Europe to help defeat Nazi Germany, then married his English bride who became a Texan. Eileen came to Leonard's hometown of DeBerry.

At age 94, the ol' soldier Leonard uses a stool to scoot around his garden of tomatoes, peas and turnip greens.

The Cadenheads still live in the very same home they built after the wedding.  Leonard says he quickly put D-Day and the war behind him.

"We got home, got a job, went to work and put it behind us," he shrugs.

The Cadenheads have been married now for 67 years. Leonard farmed for their first year  before going to work in construction for Arkla Gas.  Eileen stayed home as they raised three boys.
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