“The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.”
Huston “Hu” Riley was one of thousands of U.S. soldiers that stormed the beaches of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 (D-Day). One could only imagine the hellfire that was raining down on them from fortified Nazi bunkers.
Photojournalist Robert Capa was also at Omaha beach that day and captured an image of an American GI laying in the surf as he fought his way to shore.
The photograph of the solider appeared in LIFE magazine and is one of the most iconic images taken from the D-Day invasion.
It turns out that the soldier in the surf was Riley.
On November 8, 2009, Riley who was a lifelong Mercer Island resident, was honored by raising the 12th Man Flag for Military Appreciation Day in the game against the Detroit Lions. It was one of the coolest 12th Man Flag ceremonies I have witnessed.
Since that day, Riley has passed away. He died on October 2, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. He was 90 years old. God Bless you Mr. Riley and all of your brethren who have gone into harm’s way.