On June 5, 1944, Jake McNiece (right) led a group of paratroopers in World War II. After he shaved his head and painted his face before dropping behind German lines for D-Day, the look caught on with his men.
Credit Courtesy of the McNiece Family
McNiece received four Bronze Stars, two Arrowhead Bronzes and was appointed a Knight of the French Legion of Honor.
Sixteen million men and women served in uniform during World War II. Today, 1.2 million are still alive, but hundreds of those vets are dying every day. In honor of Memorial Day, NPR's All Things Considered is remembering some of the veterans who have died this year.
The Dirty Dozen was a Hollywood hit, but it was based — loosely — on a true-to-life WWII paratrooper regiment. Jake McNiece led the group, whose exploits inspired the 1967 movie and earned the nickname "The Filthy Thirteen." McNiece died in January at the age of 93.
At Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Michael Johnson exercises under a long, steel framework set on a wooden platform. It looks like a giant jungle gym. Above his head are pull-up bars and rings. A climbing rope is off to one side.
It's here where he and dozens of other soldiers and sailors will remember the fallen, just after sunrise, on Memorial Day. They'll all take part in a grueling exercise regimen, part of CrossFit, the popular high-intensity workout program.
Once upon a time, there was a small Hungarian village that was very proud of its sour cherries. The village was called Újfehértó. As in many Hungarian villages, tall cherry trees lined the streets and provided welcome shade in the summertime.
When communism came to Hungary after World War II, the government introduced big collective farms, and Hungarian scientists had to decide which cherries the farms should grow.
A man views merchandise at an American Apparel store on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Calif., on April 24, 2012. Each year, the company makes more than 40 million articles of clothing out of its L.A.-area factory.
A memorial outside Paris honors members of the Lafayette Squadron, which was started by a group of young American men in 1914 who wanted to fight for France when World War I broke out. The U.S. had not yet entered the war.
Every Memorial Day weekend, a ceremony takes place just outside Paris to honor a group of Americans who fought in France. They're not D-Day veterans, but a little known group of pilots who fought for France in World War I, before the U.S. entered the war.
This year's ceremony in the tiny town of Marnes-la-Coquette began with a flyover by two French air force Mirage fighter jets from the Escadrille Lafayette, or Lafayette Squadron, paying tribute to the men who founded the group nearly 100 years ago.