The following day the advance northward continued, halted only while the 4th Armored Division rolled through the lines en route to Prague.
On the morning of May 7th the 90th moved forward once more, only to be halted almost immediately. Division Headquarters had received a message of historic importance :
"A representative of the German High Command signed the unconditional surrender of all German land, sea and air forces in Europe to the Allied Expeditionary Forces and simultaneously to the Soviet High Command at 01:41 B Central European Time 7 May 1945 under which all forces will cease active operations at 00:01 B 9 May 1945".
And so ended the combat history of the 90th Infantry Division, a history which began on the beaches of Normandy and wound through one thousand miles of hedgerows, plains, hills, rivers and forests half way across the continent of Europe, where the men with the T-O patch stood triumphantly at last on the liberated soil of Czechoslovakia.
There is little to add to the story of the 90th Division. The simultaneous arrival of American troops and the promise of a lasting peace aroused a frenzy of jubilation among the Czechs who played host to the Americans with all the enthusiasm and hospitality that can spring from gratitude.
Each city and village was garlanded with flowers, dances and parties and street festivals were the order of the day. The girls dressed in colorful native costumes, while musicians sang and played until the hours of dawn. Soldiers of the Red Army, with whom the 90th Division had finally made contact, exchanged greeting of "Tovarisch" and "Hiya, Ivan" with the American troops who had come half way across the world to meet them in a strange land.
There was some difficulty in the beginning in adjusting the mind the idea of peace. For months dust, mud and ice had been home, and the threat of instant death had been ever present.
For almost a year there had been assaults and the "sweating out" of artillery barrages. There had been untold suffering and incredible heroism. And now it was finished. Once more it was possible to walk confidently and surely.
The 90th had done its work well, so well that whenever there is talk of valiant men in the future, the Tough 'Ombres are sure to receive their praise. The world cannot easily or soon forget the blood that flowed at the Foret de Mont Castre, nor the epic crossing of the untamable Moselle.
There are volumes to be said for the men who cracked the Siegfried Line, not once but twice, for the men who fought in snow and mud and sliced their way across the plains and hills to cut the enemy in two.
The accomplishments of the 90th were not on a modest scale. A total of 83,437 prisoners of war were taken throughout the days of combat, the equivalent of more than six divisions. In addition, 501 tanks, 195 self-propelled guns and 134 warplanes were captured or destroyed. Victory, however, was not bought cheaply. The expense account is long and tragic.
Of the men who wore the T-O patch, 3,871 paid for peace with their lives. More than 21,000 were casualties. It is with solemn pride, therefore, that the men of the 90th Infantry Division, those who have gone and those who have remained, view their accomplishments.
No written history can hope to describe adequately the invincible spirit of the men who fought in the T-O Division's ranks. There are many words to describe their deeds, but no words to do them sufficient honor.
photo: These four men were stranded in German territory for four nights and three days with only one quart of water and nothing to eat. Their rescuers were signaled with this first aid bandage.