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80 years after D-Day, Golden man remembers father killed in World War II

Tom Hoffman
Posted at 10:26 PM, Jun 06, 2024

GOLDEN, Colo. — Eighty years after D-Day, a Golden man traveled to Normandy, France, to honor his father, who was killed in World War II.

Tom Hoffman never met his father. He was 10 months old when his dad, Andrew Kalonsky, died. Kalonsky served in the U.S. Army with the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment 101st Airborne Division.

“He was the child of Ukrainian immigrants,” said Hoffman.

Hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Hoffman said his dad began basic training in 1942. He had a passion for repairing radios.

“He got transferred to the communications section of the 502nd, which dealt with radios and that sort of thing. He was ecstatic about that," Hoffman said.

Andrew Kalonsky

Kalonsky was killed on June 9, 1944, during intense combat in Europe. Hoffman only knows vague details about that day.

"My mom had decided that we weren't going to talk about a lot of that stuff,” said Hoffman.

Hoffman only knew his father through old photos, letters and stories shared by loved ones. He eventually learned details of his father's death from one of his uncles decades later.

“When he got to Normandy, the beach had been secured. They were trying to push out,” said Hoffman. “[My uncle] finally found some of the guys that knew him and that's how he learned he'd been killed.”

Hoffman said it was common not to talk about the war when he was growing up. He's trying to learn what he can in order to share his dad's legacy.

“I don't want us to close the book. I want us to move on, but to have the context that there was a purpose of that,” said Hoffman.

80 years after D-Day, Golden man remembers father killed in World War II

Hoffman went on to serve in the Vietnam War. He said he is proud of the man he never met, and talks with his two sons about how their grandfather made the ultimate sacrifice.

“At least having knowledge of this and what our fathers and grandfathers, who they were and what they were like can maybe be something,” said Hoffman.

Kalonsky is buried at the Normandy American Cemetery in Normandy, France, which was created and is maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission.

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