Skip to main content

Honored for D-Day Service, Harper Griswold Reflects on Sacrifices Made for Nation's Independence

June 29, 2012

Charlestown resident among three D-Day veterans recognized at Army Twilight Tattoo event in Virginia

CATONSVILLE, MD---As the United States of America prepares to celebrate its independence,
Frederick "Harper" Griswold is well aware of the sacrifices made to preserve it.
"I was a first-hand witness to the most important military invasion in history," described Mr. Griswold.
The resident of Charlestown, the Erickson Living retirement community in Catonsville, was one of three D-Day veterans honored in June at the United States Army Twilight Tattoo at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia.
At an awards luncheon prior to the military pageant, Mr. Griswold received medals from the 30th Under Secretary of the Army Joseph Westphal for Excellence and from SMA Raymond F. Chandler III, the 14th Sergeant Major of the Army.
"The Army would like to recognize you for your service to this country during one of the most trying times in our nation's history and for the sacrifices you and so many made to ensure the future of our nation," wrote Under Secretary Westphal.  "We applaud all you have done and the inspiration you have shown to future leaders of America and generations to come."
Inspired by his father who served in the U.S. Army 5th Division in the trenches of Europe during World War I, Mr. Griswold enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve in 1942.  He was stationed at the U.S. Navy Advanced Amphibious Base in Falmouth, England and then CTF 127, the U.S. Navy Amphibious Base in Cherbourg, France.
"I served on the HMS Ceres, a World War I cruiser with a joint American and English crew under our command.  We were the flagship for convoys entering the Omaha Beach sector, unloading equipment and supplies from England to France.  We were there from June 6th until mid-August when we sailed to Scotland.  I was then re-assigned to the port in Cherbourg, France," recalled Mr. Griswold.
The scene was chaotic on the morning of the invasion.  "As an 18-year old, everything on D-Day happened so fast.  There were ships as far as you could see and planes flying back and forth between England and France," described Mr. Griswold.  "With all of the smoke and artillery fire, you couldn't comprehend the significance of the moment at the time.  We were just doing our jobs."
For his service, Mr. Griswold received the USN Combat Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, World War II Victory Medal, American Theater Medal, European-African Middle Eastern Theater Medal, 1 Star, 3 French Medals and the English Normandy Medal.
Preserving the legacy of the brave men and women who served in World War II is important for Mr. Griswold.  He has returned to Normandy, France three times and participated in an oral history project with the Library of Congress along with thirty other veterans from Charlestown.
"The world might have been a very different place without those brave young men who paid the ultimate sacrifice.  Our independence was fortified on the beaches of Normandy," said Mr. Griswold.  "I hope no one ever forgets."
About Charlestown: Charlestown, managed and developed by Erickson Living, is a retirement community that provides worry-free living for America's seniors-the country's fastest growing population segment.  Erickson Living's financial value and predictable monthly service fees provide residents across the country financial peace of mind.  Comprehensive health and wellness services, integrated into our continuum of care, lead to demonstrated resident benefits.  A robust complement of resident programs and facilities promote an engaged, fulfilling lifestyle that is reflected in resident satisfaction levels that exceed the industry average.  For more information, please visit