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There are many to whom we skiers are indebted for advancements in our sport--the equipment innovators, the technique developers and instructors thereof, the inspiring racers and elegant athletes. And we have heard much about the early resort developers, many of whom were in the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division in World War II and came back to open new terrain and lifts for us. But there was one even greater gift we were given. This is exemplified by Rudy Konieczny, an enthusiastic young ski racer who became a soldier to fight with the 10th Mountain Division. But Rudy did not come back from the war. Instead, a memorial plaque for Rudy is in the warming hut at the top of Massachussetts' Mount Greylock. His biographer Charles Sanders writes in The Story of Rudy Konieczny,
"The real honor to Rudy and the other members of the 10th who failed to return home...is the one that we as skiers and boarders and snow sliders of every stripe who know of their sacrifice carry in our hearts. It is the knowledge we take with us every time we go to the mountains that once someone stood exactly where we are now standing, understood exactly the joy that we are now feeling and gave it all up to make our time here possible. To forget that is to deny ourselves their other most precious gift: the honor of being their legacy.
Rudy Konieczny from Skiing Heritage,
U. S. Army Ski Troops
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