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Berry Webb’s cozy home is full of neatly organized evidence of a life of expressiveness, passion and love. He is devoted to his God, to his America, to his wife Sherry and family and friends … and to his Dallas Mavericks. But on our recent visit, Marine Corps Sgt. Webb, 61, is fighting for that life of expressiveness, passion and love. Berry is a victim of Lou Gehrig’s Disease, the ALS coming on two years ago as a result of being exposed to Agent Orange during his tour in Vietnam, where he served as a gunner, participated in six major battles and earned six medals for his sacrifice.
Now, the expressiveness is limited. From a hospital bed stationed permanently in the living room of his house in Terrell, Texas, his ability to communicate is essentially limited to what he can do with his left hand … and with a single teardrop.
“I am not a hero,’’ Webb says to me – but he “says’’ this in silence.
His method of communication is a series of quick-but-patient tapping the fingers of his left hand onto an alphabet board held near his lap by Sherry (and throughout the day by other members of our party, which includes Gina Miller, Mark Followill and videographer Bill Ellis, who shot this companion piece for the story for CBS11).
The first Allied troops entered the Netherlands on September 9, 1944, on a reconnaissance patrol; on September 12, 1944, a small part of Limburg was liberated by the US 30th Infantry Division. During Operation Market Garden, the Americans and British established a corridor to Nijmegen, but they failed to secure a Rhine crossing at Arnhem.
During the rest of 1944, the Canadian First Army liberated Zeeland in the Schelde Campaign, in order to free access to the harbour of Antwerp. By 1945, the entire southern part of the Netherlands (up to the Waal and Maas rivers) had been liberated.
The German forces in the Netherlands finally surrendered in Wageningen, on May 5, 1945. The acts of Canadian soldiers toward the civilian population during this period would be a major point of endearment and friendship in Canada–Netherlands relations, among other acts throughout the war, for many years afterward.
Marine Corps Sgt. Webb, 61, is fighting for that life of expressiveness, passion and love. Berry is a victim of Lou Gehrig’s Disease, the ALS coming on two years ago as a result of being exposed to Agent Orange during his tour in Vietnam,