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My Father's Voice

This recording is a three minute interview with my father.   He served in WW2 in General Patton's 3 Army, landing at Normandy Beach during the forth month of the invasion and conquering the historic Siegfried Line.  But this story here below was not brought about for the sake of hero or war in the killing fields of our world, but more so because of these words, “You shall honor your father and your mother”.                (Continued at end of page)
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                       You can understand a lot about a man . . . by his shoes


                            And more so . . . if you've tried to walk in them

These are the facts and fragments of information that I have gathered from my mother and uncles to the best of memory, as my father never actually spoke to me of war . . . In just leaving a record for a more curious generation, or if even for that one child that would search, I write.   Sometimes with the least information you have, as if a rare memory in treasure, you search out all possibilities, choices and then conclude. 
Then you ask yourself of which choices made were closer to God's' plan, and not your own . . . or another.    For this reason I share with honor, this story of my father's choice.            
                                          . . .   His Purple Heart  . . .

In recapping the recording just played,  I write the major highlights of what was briefly told.   My father (Staff Sargent) and his squad had to clear out a village of about a “Battalion of Germans”.   I choose to use the words “Casualties of War” here because the moral in this story is not about “a people” but more so about the decisions we make as people in the unseen realms at the heart of war.   “They fought to the last stand, until they were all down in the cellar.   I threw in a Bangalore torpedo on about fifty of them, I ask them to surrender, and they didn't do it, so we knocked them all out and took the rest as prisoners”.  Those were my father's recorded words.   Notice that the interviewer had to point out  “a particular incident” to get my father to mention this. That's because he didn't plan to mention it at all, but well worth mentioning from a war correspondent's point of view.   At that time my father told a half truth, for the record. But as we all know, the truth always comes out in the end.  Sometimes after we're gone. But who wants to hear a dead story when the heart and eyes of a newer and brighter generation are the recipients in knowing of all that has fallen and of all that is raised.  So, I choose to mention of what has not been, of what both rises and settles in the heart for those more human to read.  
I believe it to be correct that a Battalion is considered of about 500 soldiers.  The practice of clearing the village finally lead to the assembly place of a larger building. The practice of introducing teargas as first and foremost (the proper way of evacuation), was here also the case, until my father lost a man by enemy fire in the process.   My father assigned another man in this attempt to deliver teargas, of which he also was shot trying to place this gas into a cellar window.   He reported “two men down” to his Commander, in taking this last building.   It wasn't long after this, he received an order, and that order was to “blow it up”.   Apparently, the question of how many attempts do you make at sending forth human targets to accomplish a more humane approach with captives, was answered.     At the end of capturing this final building, in the midst of all this death filled air, my father had to make a decision.   Obey the order and become the barrier of even more death?    No . . . he chose to do something else, to make one last attempt, live or die, to make it to that window and deliver the teargas himself . . . and he did.   He crawled low and fast.  He almost made it without a wound.   I know Grace was with him in his decision, whether he realized it or not because of all concerned.  Through the smoke and fog of a nightmare scene, there also is an unseen place of prayerful heart and wings. . . for those who may receive such. Sometimes, in desperation we are brought back to that place, with perhaps not enough time to pray, but to act.  This is where we should realize that the decisions we make may later be looking back at us. 
While crouching down as low as he could and moving as fast as he could, he was grazed by a shotgun blast across the back.   It must not to have been too serious to him, because he kept going and with adrenaline I'm sure, until he made it to that window. After delivering the teargas himself, the majority came out, most likely two to three hundred or more.   The Bangalore torpedo he also delivered was only after a second request for surrender, as you can not leave an armed enemy to your back.

My father had received great respect from his men, according to my Uncle, especially as one closer to them in battle and at a time when men looked up to the stronger for strength to conquer in so great a valley of death, the fear of dieing.  I can't help but think about the prayers of all concerned and how, when later on in life, in the sweet fragrance amongst the living, even unto the next generation that feels so blessed just to dwell beneath the sun, to whom do we owe?   If you never think about the price someone else has paid for your safety, even at risking their own, how will you believe in the spirit that brings us to sober judgment?  The enlightened strength of each are of the same spirit.   My father could not see or express this in many words but somewhere there are a great many souls that may well understand this better now after knowing that he saved more lives than he took.   If we knew just how close death was knocking at our door, what would it change in your life and who would you owe?   Many have died to see this more clearly and to hear the music thereafter.   Yet still this story may hold a greater meaning when I tell you that the building in that village was . . . a Church.

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