As Dire Straits would say, “Through these fields of destruction, baptisms of fire, I’ve witnessed your suffering.”
The horrors of war pass most of us by without any scarring, any deep thought, but as a child of an injured Normandy invasion soldier, I always thought about wars, any war.
As a young child, I only knew that we never watched war movies and that my dad had a Purple Heart but I didn’t know his story. As years passed and maybe some of the PTSD, he started talking, maybe he knew when we would be able to understand, but maybe he was just ready to tell the horror of his day. He was on the front lines with the Third Division and had lived through the Omaha beach landing in the Normandy invasion, but a battle up the road, beyond Paris, in a town near the Rhine River, would prove to be his life changing moment.
In mid-August, 1944, he was hit by mortar fire in his left knee. Well, the battle had to continue so he was left behind. His brothers in arms told him to hang on, the medic instructed him how to hang on, as he waited behind the dreaded hedgerow. He spent the day tying a tourniquet on and off, holding on to their words; true words, his brothers returned.
He was flown to a hospital in England where he would spend four months, and met Bob Hope on one of his USO tours. His leg was badly injured, most likely needing an amputation. The surgeon gave him the news. My dad said, “Doc, do you think you can save it?” He did save it, the leg still has the same pins that have held it together for 70 years. Does it hurt? Yes. Does the other leg hurt due to extra work? Yes. Does he complain or take medicine? No, he still takes a daily walk (weather permitting).
He will be 93 on June 19 and yes, he is one great guy that lived to tell his story to his family. A family he wouldn’t have unless his brothers in arms hadn’t returned. Many times, a songwriter says it best, please listen to “Brothers in Arms” by Dire Straits. The song makes me cry, I only ask you to think when you hear it.
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Dear Ms. Doak,
Please hurry over to you Daddy's house and grab a hold of him and squeeze. Do it for me and for everybody in America. We owe these great people so much and time is quickly running out. Hurry.
What a man! God bless him and thank you so much for sharing that with us.
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Your daddy is my hero. If I knew where he lived I would drive over just to thank him for his bravery and commitment to our country.
I don't have to be from a military family to understand the meaning of "Brothers in Arms.' I've listened to Dire Straits for 30 years and am still moved to tears every time I hear this beautiful song.
Mr. Glascock is right...we do owe the greatest generation everything we enjoy today. Most notably, our freedom.