NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - Senator Greg Ball created The New York State Veterans Hall of Fame to honor men and women who have distinguished themselves in both military and civilian life. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Herb Geller was honored Thursday night at the induction ceremony in Carmel.
Geller, who is pushing 90, is currently chairman of the Democratic Party Committee and Commander of the North Salem American Legion Post. When I joined the Post, there were about 50 active members, he said. There are only about four or five of us left. Now I am the American Legion.
Geller spent his youth in the Bronx and had never been more than 100 miles from home when he was sent overseas as an army signal corpsman. The troops embarked from the 48th Street pier. It was October 27, 1943, he said.
We were on the Queen Mary. It took us 10 days to cross the Atlantic. We had to zigzag because there were submarines in the waters," Geller said. "When we arrived in Scotland, there were 100 ships in the harbor."
Later on we crossed the English Channel and had to watch out for mines. We landed in Le Havre and had to march a half mile with our duffle bags. They were very heavy. Then we saw Paris. They chased us out 10 hours later and we had to go back to Le Havre.
Cpl. Geller finally got back to Paris in 1995. It was the 50th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.
We came back on January 31, 1946 on a liberty ship. We sailed right into New York harbor. They brought stacks of newspapers onto the ship. It was the New York Sun. The paper listed everybodys name. My name was there.
Geller went on to receive a Good Conduct Medal, a European Theater of Operations Medal, and American Theater of Operations Medal and an Occupation of Germany Medal.
In civilian life, Geller was a feature writer and editor for The Bridgeport Sunday Post and The Patent Trader. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his Sunday Post ethnic series. He has received coverage awards from the New York Press Association and the New England Press Association. He is a member of the New York Press Club.
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