In 1944 at the age of 19, an architecture student named Victor A. Lundy joined the U.S. Army’s Special Training Program with the hope that he’d get to help rebuild post-war Europe. Instead, he was assigned to the 26th Infantry Division. And on D-Day in 1944, the division found themselves on the front lines on the beach at Normandy.
Lundy’s name may sound familiar because he went on to become one of America’s most beloved mid-century architects. But as a young man out of his element and thrown into some very adult situations, all he wanted to do was find a way through it. Drawing had always comforted him, so he kept a sketchbook and a pencil in his pocket at all times, capturing daily life, quick portraits, and still life drawings whenever he could. Miraculously, not only did the young soldier survive that terrible battle; he also managed to hang onto most of his sketchbooks, which he donated to the Library of Congress many years later.
From his training in Fort Jackson in South Carolina to his experience of D-Day on the shores of Normandy, France, Lundy kept a faithful visual record that is both sweet and chilling. The sketches serve as a humbling reminder of the youth and innocence that is lost in all wars.
You can see all of Victor Lundy’s wonderful sketches on the Library of Congress website.