A Veterans Day Tribute to My Recently Departed Father, a World War 2 Hero
My father, Leon Katzen, left this world on October 29, 2015 at the impressive age of 97. Right up until the end, he kept his sense of humor and dignity, and slipped away quietly on his own terms. He was a proud veteran, and I want to honor him on this day.
- •He was born on July 29, 1918, while WWI still raged.A Bronx, NY native. His parents were poor Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe.
- •After completing Brooklyn Law School in 1942, he enlisted in the army.
- •Serving in the European Theater of Operations (France and Germany) he was one of 4 officers commanding a battery of 139 men.
- •He was present at the liberation of Dachau concentration camp.As a Jewish American, he was impacted heavily for the rest of his life.
- •He returned from the war in 1945 with rank of captain, 5 battle stars, and a Purple Heart.He was hit by shrapnel in his leg and spent time in a field hospital. Went right back into combat...
- •A few months after his return, he met and married my mother.
- •His law practice, first in NYC and then in Rochester, NY, centered on advocating for the little guy.He never retired. Last week my brothers and I were in his law office, sorting through current papers.
- •The firm he co-established in Rochester still thrives and employs over 100 personnel.Little guys still welcome.
- •We just lost an American hero. 🇺🇸God bless you, Dad.❤️