There are almost daily SNL obituaries of men who served in World War II and were heralded as The Greatest Generation. They are deserving of being remembered with honor for their sacrifice.

Seventy-five years ago, February 2, 1944, the U.S. Army suffered one of its greatest losses in the Battle of Anzio. The 1st and 3rd Ranger Battalions attacked German lines near Cisterna, Italy. Faulty intelligence failed to report that the enemy lines were, in reality, a staging area for the Germans' 715th Infantry Division, including seventeen German Panzer IV tanks.

When the smoke of the initial Ranger assault cleared only six of the 767 Rangers returned. Seven-hundred sixty were killed, wounded or taken prisoners. Forty-three men of the 3rd Reconnaissance Troop also were trapped. Only one got back. Then the 3rd Infantry Division was turned back. The defeat at Cistern was a huge single-action payment on the greater price paid for our taken-for-granted freedoms that we forget to our shame.

Company B, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division was one of the units driving up the flank behind the Ranger Battalions. Audie Murphy, a Staff Sergeant in Company B, had distinguished himself in prior action, killing two Italian officers while on patrol near Canicatti. He also killed several German soldiers while fighting on the Volturno Line, all prior to the Battle of Anzio. During that five-month long battle, he was awarded a Bronze Stars a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster for his Bronze Star and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

His exploits in the Anzio battle and, later, in Southern France included patrols capturing German soldiers and destroying a German tank, alone, with a rifle grenade. He advanced, again alone, on a German-occupied house and, under direct fire, killed six, wounded two and took eleven prisoners. In the Cleurie River Valley in France, he attacked a machine gun position, killing four and wounding three of the enemy. He was awarded the Silver Star for that action.

Three days later, under intense German fire, he directed his men by radio as they took the hill with 15 Germans killed and 35 wounded. Here, he received the Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster for his Silver Star.

Three weeks later, attacked by a German sniper group, he captured two but was shot in the hip before killing the offending third sniper. Gangrene set in and he lost part of a hip muscle. He was awarded a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster for his Purple Heart as he had been wounded earlier in a mortar shell explosion. Three months later he would get a second Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster for his Purple Heart when he was wounded in both legs.

He was awarded the Medal of Honor when, facing overwhelming numbers, he ordered his men to retreat and, under fire, remained in his position where he spotted for artillery. Mounting a burning tank destroyer and firing its machine gun, Murphy killed or wounded 50 German foot soldiers who were advancing with tank support. Out of destroyer ammunition, he rejoined his men and repelled the German attack. He was, again, wounded in the leg but stayed with his men while his wounds were treated.

He was just another soldier in the Battle of Cisterna seventy-five years ago. Now he is remembered as the most decorated soldier in World War II. His heroic acts are memorable. But equally memorable, in their own unique way, are the exploits of the other members of that passing generation.

Seventy-five years is long enough to, sadly, forget the price that was paid for our freedom. Occasions such as this anniversary of great sacrifice affords us opportunities to remember, reflect and renew our determination to remain alert and able to defend our freedoms. And, above all, honor our heroes.