A group of World War II veterans from the 95th Infantry Division visited the National World War I Museum and Memorial last week. These soldiers were nicknamed the "Iron Men of Metz" after liberating Metz, France. RideKC was fortunate to provide transportation to them and their families between the Plaza and the Memorial. Kansas City Area Transportation Authority CEO Robbie Makinen and COO Sam Desue presented each of the veterans a special Challenge Coin. Every year, the veterans and their families hold a reunion, and this year the group gathered in Kansas City, Mo.
A family member of one of the veterans tells CEO Makinen how beautiful the RideKC Honor bus is, and how much the group appreciates the warm welcome to Kansas City.
The "Iron Men of Metz" hold a reunion every year. The 2017 gathering was held in Kansas City, Mo.
The group toured the World War I Museum. Here, the group hears about how the war changed the workforce in the United States.
Approximately 70 veterans and their friends and family attended the reunion of the 95th Infantry Division.
Veterans and their families aboard the RideKC Honor bus, arriving at the World War I Museum and Memorial.
Below: KCATA CEO Robbie Makinen thanks the veterans for their service in World War II. COO Sam Desue (not pictured) and Makinen presented the Iron Men of Metz with RideKC Challenge Coins.
The 95th Infantry Division was formed in July of 1942. They trained for two years at a number of different locations in the U.S. and sailed for Europe about a month after D-Day. They went into combat against the fortress city of Metz, which had withstood Allied attacks for a month. Against heavy resistance, the 95th captured the forts surrounding Metz and liberated the city, earning themselves the nickname "The Iron Men of Metz." They liberated cities across northern France and continued on to fight through the Netherlands and into Germany.
The Division was demobilized in October of 1945 and reunions began not long afterwards. This year they celebrate the 68th annual gathering. This year’s reunion in Kansas City, Mo., includes 100 people: veterans, the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of veterans, and friends from France. In addition to the annual reunions, many of the veterans and their families revisit France every five years where they are welcomed in celebrations by the citizens of the towns they liberated.