As a member of the 23rd Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division, Paul R. Zimmaro landed with Company C on bloody Omaha Beach on D-Day and fought his way through hedgerow country to liberate the key port city of Brest.
The Indianhead Division, as the 2nd was called, continued to fight its way across France until the Germans launched a major offensive in the Ardennes, which became known as the Battle of the Bulge, in the winter of 1944.
The Philadelphia native was severely wounded in an artillery attack and shipped back to the U.S.
His right leg was amputated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and he began three years of painful treatment for other serious wounds. It was while being treated at Valley Forge Army Hospital outside of Philadelphia that he met Anna Drabinsky of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, who worked in the hospital’s administrative office. They married in 1948
Zimmaro, like so many disabled veterans, never let his handicap get in the way and would joke with curious kids at the Jersey Shore that a shark had bitten him.
He became the first Walter Reed amputee to use a modified car with hand controls and a left-side gas pedal and later worked as a computer-supply technician for the Naval Supply Depot in Northeast Philadelphia.
Paul Zimmaro died last Thursday, three days short of Veterans Day, from lingering war wounds. He was 84.
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