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Smucker Legislation to Honor World War II Veteran Advanced by Committee

Government and Politics

November 21, 2022


Smucker Legislation to Honor World War II Veteran Advanced by Committee

Washington, DC— Legislation introduced by Rep. Lloyd Smucker (PA-11) to honor the life of Lancaster County World War II Veteran and last known survivor of the Malmedy Massacre, Harold Billow, was unanimously approved by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform last week.  

Smucker’s legislation would designate the Mount Joy Post Office Building as the “Harold Billow Post Office Building” in honor of Billow, a lifelong Mount Joy resident. Smucker’s legislation was introduced with the support of the entire Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation.

“I want to thank the members of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform for unanimously advancing my legislation to honor an American hero from Pennsylvania’s 11th Congressional District. I look forward to the House approving this bill to honor a true patriot and exceptional member of the Greatest Generation,” said Rep. Smucker.

Background:

A Mount Joy resident since the age of six, Mr. Billow was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943 and trained as a “flash and sound” technician. During World War II, he was attached to Battery B of the 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion and arrived in France in 1944 at the age of 21.

On December 17th, 1944, Mr. Billow and 120 others in his unit were captured by Nazi soldiers, who fired upon the group rather than taking prisoners. 87 American soldiers were killed in this attack, which would later become known as the Malmedy Massacre. Mr. Billow was not struck by the bullets but fell to the ground and pretended to be dead as the Nazis walked among the survivors and shot any living men in the head. After several hours, he escaped by running to a nearby house with other survivors then, realizing the Nazis were behind them, he fled in the open air until he was found by the U.S. 30th Armored Division.

Upon returning to the U.S., Mr. Billow spent the rest of his life in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, and was a committed member of VFW Post 5752 in Mount Joy, the Mount Joy Fire Department, American Legion Post 466 of Marietta, Pennsylvania, and the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge.

Every year on Memorial Day, July 4th, and Veterans Day Mr. Billow honored the 87 fellow soldiers he lost during the Malmedy Massacre by planting 87 American flags in his front yard. When he passed away in May 2022 at the age of 99, he was the last known living survivor of the Massacre.