|Pvt. James Burnett|
James E. Burnett never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on April 24, 1917 in Virginia. His parents were also both born in Virginia. His father was a farmer. James had three younger sisters and four younger brothers. By 1940 he had completed a 6th grade level of school and worked as a farm laborer.
James enlisted in the army on April 14, 1941. He became a private in the Headquarter's Company, 2nd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division, nicknamed "The Blue and Gray."
Pvt. Burnett would have participated in the D-Day landing at Omaha Beach where the troops of the 116th Infantry Regiment were the first men on the beach. He would have been involved in the battle for St. Lo and the Normandy hedgerows. Pvt. Burnett was one of the more fortunate G.I.s by the end of the Normandy Campaign. The 29th Infantry Division in Normandy suffered more than 2,500 dead and 8,000 wounded. His luck did not hold out. His unit was next ordered to assault Brest. This lasted from August 25 to September 18. Pvt. Burnett died on September 4, 1944, one of four Blue and Gray men who died that day and one of 624 who lost their lives in the battle for Brest.
His remains were returned to be buried at White Rock Cemetery in Floyd,Virginia.
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