Young historian from Czech Republic makes contact, sends special package to Pelican’s well known World War II U.S. Army nurse veteran Marcy Korda
The history of nurses who served in World War II is kept alive by a group of women in eastern Europe.
A surprise package was received locally, by World War II Army nurse Marcy Korda. A longtime Pelican resident, Marcy celebrated her 100th birthday.
Marcy’s experiences as a nurse in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, during the Second World War, have been profiled over the years in the Pelican Rapids Press, as well as other media.
The young historians, from the Czech Republic and Poland, collect uniforms and equipment from the 1940s. They participate in historical anniversaries, mainly World War II battlefields and cemeteries.
The package, which was intended as a birthday greeting, was a complete surprise to Marcy. Included were an array of photos which the women took at various locations—including Anzio, a hard-fought landing that foreshadowed the D-Day invasion of France nearly a year later, in late 1944. Included in the package to Marcy was a small bottle—filled with sand from the Anzio beaches.
Marcy and her late husband, Dr. Henry Korda, served at Anzio—some of the fiercest combat of the war. The two met during the war, were married, and moved to Pelican Rapids in 1946—where Dr. Korda served as town doctor for nearly 40 years.
The Press reprints the letter from the young Czech history enthusiast, whom we only know as “Emi.” Also featured, photos from their trips to historical sites.
—Louis Hoglund, managing editor
* * * * *
Dear Ms. Korda,
This package will probably not reach you in time for your birthday but I hope that it’s contents will bring you some joy never the less.
My name is Emi and I am writing to you from the Old Continent (Czech Republic to be precise) on behalf of a group of young women who recognize and cherish the history of World War II US Army Nurses.
I have recently came into contact with one Ms. Carolyn Nicholson and Mr. Marvin Williams whose mother (Adeline “Si” Simonson) and father (Marvin E. Williams) served with you in the 95th Evacuation Hospital during the war. They were kind enough to provide me with your postal address.
Me and my friends here in the Czech Republic (former-Czechoslovakia) and Poland are very passionate about history and womens’ role in it. US Army nurses have always been our heroines and role models—their courage, the will to serve their country and devotion to their patients even in the most difficult times, are very inspiring.
You see, in 1945 three US Army hospitals operated in the area where we live now. The 45th Field Hospital, 67th and 109th Evacuation Hospitals provided the much needed medial care not only to American soldiers fighting for our country’s freedom but also to Czech civilians and German prisoners of war.
We are forever grateful to all GIs, doctors, nurses and medics who helped win the war in Europe. It couldn’t be done without you! Sometimes I wonder if, at 20 years old, I would find enough courage in myself to volunteer for overseas duty and leave my home “for the duration” not knowing if I would ever come back. I don’t know the answer and I hope that I’ll never be put to such test. That is why I would like to thank you for finding that courage in the time of need for your selfless service.
Me and my friends believe that it is very important to remember to whom we owe our freedom and to remind and tell the stories of World War II and all who fought and died in it. We formed an official group which focuses on history of US Army nurses.
We collect uniforms, equipment and personal items from 1940s and travel around the country and abroad to show them to the public during different historical events. We participate in historical anniversaries in France, Belgium and Italy. We visit Word War II battlefields, museums and cemeteries.
Our last trip before the pandemic was to Anzio, Italy. We went there in January 2020 and we proudly wore Army Nurse Corps uniforms while visiting the sites which witnessed one of the hardest battles in the Mediterranean.
At the nearby Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in NeHuno, rest three Army nurses who were killed during the German bombings of the beachhead in early 1944. We left flowers on their graves. The visit to the cemetery was truly touching. Today Anzio is a beautiful holiday town, with many restaurants, pizzerias, bars and cafes. There is a busy port packed with fishing boats and yachts. I’m sending a small bottle of sand collected from the beach at Anzio.
Our group is 100% non-profit and we do this in our free time. We have students, historians, doctors, nurses, lawyers and even engineers in our ranks. The youngest member is turning 18 in March and the oldest (that is me) has just turned 30 in January. We love educating people about history and show them how nurses lived and worked during World War II. We even have our own tent in which we sleep on Army cots.
Whenever I get back home after a weekend spent in a cold tent, I am thankful for my shower, hot water and comfortable bed! In such moments I admire you, veteran nurses, even more for dealing with even worse conditions for such a long period of time.
We truly hope that what we do helps to keep the memory of World War II Army Nurses alive. You deserve to be remembered. Please let me once again thank you for your service and wish you the most wonderful birthday and lots of health.
Photos from Czech historian feature battlefields, sites of WWII as they exist today
Here’s our group in front of the Beachhead Museum in Anzio.
We proudly represented WWII Army nurses in our uniforms with 5th Army patches.
These images and captions of World War II scenes, as they exist in 2021, were sent by a history enthusiast from the Czech Republic—who helps honor the legacy of military nurses.
She mailed them to Pelican’s Marcy Korda—among the few World War II nurse veterans still with us today.
Family gathers in honor of Marcy Korda
The Korda family, gathered to honor mother’s 100th birthday. From left, Renee Korda, Rae Marie Korda, Marcy Korda, Roxanne Korda, Michael Korda and Rachael Gabe. All of the Kordas are graduates of Pelican Rapids High School. PHOTO COURTESY OF JULIE MARTIN