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This "minicache" (a small decon container) is stashed on the scenic Piermont Pier. Park at N 41 02.436 W 073 54.673 and follow in the footsteps of approximately 1.3 million G.I.s as they left nearby Camp Shanks ("Last Stop U.S.A.") for the European Theatre of Operations ("ETO") during World War 2.
"Lilli Marlene" started as a poem, "The Song of a Young Sentry", written by a German soldier, Hans Leip, before shipping out to the Russian Front in 1915. The poem was later put to music by fellow German Norbert Schultze in 1938 under the title "Lili Marleen" and recorded before the Second World War by Swedish singer Lala Anderson. Merely 700 records were sold, after which the song was more or less forgotten until August 18, 1941 when a German officer, Lieutenant Karl-Heinz Reintgen, the Director of German Armed Forces Radio in Belgrade, stumbled upon the record and decided to broadcast it for a friend of his in the Afrika Korps who had always liked the song. It caught on like wildfire. The commander of the vaunted Afrika Korps, General Feldmarschall Irwin Rommel, liked the song and requested that Radio Belgrade incorporate it into its daily broadcast. Thus "Lili Marleen" was heard every night, becoming the station's signature sign-off tune and, unofficially, the favorite song of the Afrika Korps.
But the Tommies were listening too. Despite the language barrier, the melody also captured the hearts and minds of the British Eighth Army who began to sing it in German. Facing the prospect of British troops singing a German song while fighting the Wehrmacht, the English quickly Anglicized "Lili Marleen", and gave the Tommies "Lilli Marlene".
By 1942, the American II Corps was campaigning with the British First Army in North Africa and the song soon spread among the ranks of the Yanks. Not to be outdone, The Americans released their own version (which became the most popular version), sung by German-born actress and singer (and ardent anti-Nazi) Marlene Dietrich, who made it her signature song and performed it on radio and in public appearances for "three long years in North-Africa, Sicily, Italy, in Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, and in England."
Lilli Marlene became one of, if not the, most popular wartime songs ever, the unofficial anthem of foot soldiers of the German, British, Canadian and American armies. The theme of the song had a universal appeal to the common "grunt" and transcended boundaries, language and war. The tens of thousands of G.I.s that tramped down this pier to ships that would take them to the ETO were undoubtedly humming, whistling or singing Lilli Marlene as were the hundreds of German P.O.W.s marching in the other direction to Camp Shanks to await the end of the war.
The cache was originally stocked with loot that has some connection to a couple of the units that shipped off this pier, particularly the 82nd "All American" and 101st "Screaming Eagles" Airborne Divisions. These units, along with the Rangers, were among the best trained, best equipped and most highly motivated troops in the U.S. Army and perhaps among all the armies in the ETO. Beside encounters with American and British fighter-bombers ("jabos"), the Germans dreaded tangling with U.S. paratrooper units, referring to them as "The Butchers in Baggy Pants". As we remember the 60th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion, this cache is dedicated to that "Band of Brothers" and their sacrifice and valor. Please take a moment to remember the citizen-soldiers who tramped down this pier to fight facism, some never to return.
3/2013 EDIT: This cache is dedicated to the memory of Harry S. Kouzoujian, who recently passed. Harry was a first generation Armenian who, after graduating from Morris High School in the Bronx, enlisted in the U.S. Army in December, 1941. Harry was a paratrooper in the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division. On his 21st birthday, Harry participated in Operation Overlord - the invasion of Normandy - by parachuting into France. Harry was captured and spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner-of-war. After his POW camp was liberated, Harry walked nearly halfway across Europe to Allied lines. It was a privilege to hear Harry talk about his days in the service and captivity. Thanks Harry for your service and sacrifice. Godspeed.
Since this is a muggle-rich environment, the minicache is well-hidden (and should remain so). The cache is on the north side of the pier, high enough where the water shouldn't reach it. PLEASE rehide the cache as you found it! When replacing the cache, please keep it accessible for subsequent seekers by NOT putting it all the way into the tree cavity. Please cover the tree crevice with driftwood. There is PI on the tree but on the eastern side, the cavity's opening is on the western side of the tree.
The Pier closes at 9 p.m. and the North Shore pedestrian walkway closes at 8 p.m.
Free counters provided by Andale.
Va gerr pnivgl ng raq bs qevsgjbbq.