WWII veteran honored by Quilts of Valor Foundation
Allen Ziegler never shared details about his service during World War II with his friends or family members. Narrowly escaping death and possible capture by Nazi forces, Zeigler, who lives at Country Meadows of York-West, tearfully shared his story at an event honoring his military service.
Ziegler, 96, was presented with a handmade quilt from the Quilts of Valor Foundation. The organization’s mission is to wrap service members and veterans affected by war with comfort and warmth by presenting handmade quilts to honor veterans’ service and sacrifice.
Zeigler was 18 years old when he served in the Army during World War II as part of the 821st Tank Destroyer Battalion. He was severely injured near Julich, Germany when, just before the Battle of the Bulge, a tank containing him, his captain, and two other soldiers was bombed. Zeigler was the only survivor, sustaining severe injuries to his right leg.
“I have survivor’s guilt you wouldn’t believe,” he says through tears, adding, “I was never that good of a person, I didn’t pray every day. But I do now.”
When his tank was hit, Ziegler managed to climb out of the vehicle before Nazi forces threw grenades inside the tank. He recalls a medic picking him up and taking him to a MASH unit where he was terrified he may lose his leg. “I asked a nurse that came there, ‘am I going to lose my leg?’” shares Zeigler. “She said, ‘You’re gonna be alright; you need some work done on your leg.’”
Pat Egger from the Mason-Dixon Hot Toppers, a local extension of Quilts of Valor, says it is important to acknowledge World War II veterans while they’re still here. “It’s really important certainly to recognize all of our veterans, but we’re starting to lose our World War II veterans quite quickly, it’s really good to give them the recognition even after all of these years.”
Egger along with fellow Hot Toppers Sandra Johnson and Ruth Cheslock, presented the quilt to Zeigler at a ceremony at Country Meadows of York-West earlier this year. “We award you this Quilt of Valor. This is an expression of gratitude from a grateful nation. Thank you so much for what you have done for all of us,” said Egger.
Zeigler said he will forever cherish this generous gift. “I’ll always remember this day.”