Lebanon County resident Bernard Ganse didn’t have a choice when he joined the army in 1940. As one of the first draftees, he started training just one week after his wedding. He then spent 4 years serving his country, including storming the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
“Well of course there’s a lot of anxiety,” Ganse said. “You expect the worst and hope for the best.” Most of the soldiers he served with, including himself, were just trying to stay alive as there was not enough time to be afraid. Ganse made it through D-Day along with other conflicts like the Battle of the Bulge. His daughter, Donna Finicle, calls him her, “humble hero.”
“He’s always been very humble about it and always had more concern for the other person than anything he’s done for himself,” said Finicle. In addition to Donna, he fathered five others and has 16 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren.
One thing that he is very open to talking about is his sweet tooth. “Yeah, what’s left of my teeth,” Ganse said as he teared open the wrapper of a Kit Kat bar. Ganse kept in contact with many of his fellow soldiers for years after returning home from Europe, and he has outlived them all. So what is his secret? “All I can say is keep the faith,” Ganse said. He is truly a humble hero.