Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Honorable Discharge Company H 104th Infantry "The War Is With Me Every Day"

This  World War II soldiers' name is John. 
A lifelong  resident,
he resides in Gettysburg, PA yet today.

He has a remarkable story to share.
And in this story, you'll come to find that he
has witnessed much in life.

It is my hope that you will
come to understand
what all American soldiers,
over time and space and through history,
have given to America and
Americans with the gentle abiding and reading of Johns'
Just may be that, too...
Whilst within and through
Johns' stories you
may come to find and tenaciously grasp the true
meaning and revelation of  the words...

"The Greatest Generation"


It's not often he shares his War Experiences,
and on days when he does,
I'm honored to listen intently
and to share upon his memories.

Why am I honored to listen and share his stories, Gentle Readers?

Before me, and still among us all...is the person and the man in total embodiment of indeed
"The Greatest Generation".


John entered into war and witness upon the hail and brimstone
of human cruelties,
horror, blood, merciless killing and
the taking of human lives.

You may have heard of this
notoriously harsh battle?

"The Battle Of The Bulge"

His stories are many.
From astounding acts of sacrifice and
unbelievable moments of history
that were never recounted publicly...until NOW.

He served our Country valiantly during World War II
with the Company H, 104th Infantry.
Army Heavy Machine Gunner 605,
 Rifle Man, and at times
He fought in the Battle of The Bulge.
European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal
Good Conduct Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Declining,  in the Theatre and through his own cognizance,
 a Purple Heart.
What was a Purple Heart then
to a soldier and a man who had watched others on the
battlefield of war give of their lives, the ultimate sacrifice?

What was a Purple Heart to him then after
he suffered wounds,
and branded memories
that no medal could extinguish?


Hunkered down in
in the worst bombed theatre of
in the confines of a potato cellar where
the deep deadly shadows were lit only
by the sparking and igniting of cartridge belts...

These soldiers knew of  inhumanities and betrayal, disease, lice, months of
no change of clothing nor baths.  No shelter
nor warm food all whilst
traversing a foreign land
through bitterly harsh and unforgiving
endless days and nights... he fought side by
side with other Americans who
gave their lives eternally or gave a part of their lives
 for an America they so deeply
and passionately loved and believed in.

They fought
 to keep Americans free.

You do realize, my Gentle Readers...for most, part and parcel?
Those Americans they fought to keep free are you and me.

Bearing the taunting wounds of shrapnel and artillery still evident and leaving their marks on his
body today, I listen to his words spilling and exhausting themselves
slowly and precisely.

Words which recall history and
paint a swathe of  horror and heartache in it's path.
 His eyes take on the distant haunting, and
for me... a sad loathing,
of the particular revelation
these dark days
in America's history
 as he recalls....his own personal story.
You'll  hear, Gentle Readers, more in his own words
and through the words of
others very soon.  You'll hear of  
the personal plague and hell of war
he survived.

And yet, as with life,
his story is
intermingled with
sentimentality and a rare, witty and wry humor.

John says today,
"The War is With Me Every Day"

"Not so much any more", he says, "but occasionally,
nightmares come and go."

There were moments once, from night to night,
jettisoning into his foggy sleep, jarring images of
hell on earth,...
combat with
his mortal enemies
returned, as if anew.
The war spoke and replayed
 through his nightmares, bringing back enemies that
were as close to him
then as your own nearest
thought or your next heart beat
may be to you right this
very moment.

In one  instance he recalls...

The soldier,
the relief, the hometown
boy who stepped across a threshold
as a replacement for a weary group of
fighting soldiers, boys really in the main...and
before Johns' very own eyes,
the innocence of his life was taken down by
enemy fire...

This is but one story of the lives lost
and casualties he witnessed.
In the end, John said,..."All we could do for those
fellas,... was
cover them with their own
woolen blanket while they froze on the ground."
Silenced of this world by death, their
bodies entombed forever, forever more...
"Forevermore, sayeth the Raven"?  Nay.

Cause of Death: Ignorance,
Brutality, In-humanity

By God, wit, brevity or by happenstance,
John was one of two that survived
the original squad who traveled as one
under one mission and one purpose.

He shared a recollection with me, of all those
years ago...
a bombarded street,
a particularly weary desperate American, war torn soldier
seeking shelter.

The enemy bore swiftly down upon him by motorcycle
and sidecar... breathing down this soldiers'
guns aimed, ready with the soldier
as sole target.

This was intended to be the final silencing of
yet another American soldier at enemy hands
a barrage of fire broke out amidst
the ramparts of destiny.
Turning, desperate, the American soldier who
had moments earlier expected to breathe his last breath
in this world
that the enemy who so intently
pursued him moments earlier lay dead
with the motorcycle and sidecar lying on the ground at standstill, wheels spinning.

You see, before the enemy could take
another single solitary life, they were slain in
an act of war.

The spared and fortunate soldier who nearly
lost his life at enemy hands searched
the highest
building to whence his salvation on earth had come
and there,...he saw him...a fellow American soldier, grim, muscles tensed and
gun still poised at the ready and raised,...The
American soldier turned Angel who saved his life.

That soldier who was saved, that fateful
day and which I am eternally grateful?
The soldier saved was John.

And who was the American soldier who
saved his life?
The name isn't recalled to this day, but
what is remembered by John is this...

This hero, this soldier had
only days earlier,
shared thoughts and moments with John.
They were thoughts where he
deeply sought and
questioned  the belief and existence of
In those prior moments, that soldier grappled with his own
understanding of mortality and immortality. 
He questioned how
God could be in the midst
of all this killing.

There was no answer for that man then.  But, on that
day, he saved Johns' life... perhaps, questions were answered
that needed to be.

It is oftentimes the way of humanity...when death lies near,
silently awaiting us or a loved one
and life takes on a fragile slant
that we question our existence and

You'll hear more of the
soldiers who
traveled, lived, fought, died and
slept through harshly brutal weather, surging ever further
and further into enemy territory through, at times,
 voluminous snow drifts 10-12 feet
high with only uniforms, overcoats and
a woolen blanket. 
John,  like others may have, slept back to back to
spare and share the body
heat of another soldier,
longing and lost for

Bearing the insult to
inhumanity they marched
at command
deeper into unknown

John won't say this even yet...but I will...

He was an American hero, still is a hero
and will most always definitely be a hero to those who know him
and love him. 

I am proud to say He is my father.

I salute you American soldiers of yesterday and today. 

There shall be more, gentle readers...of this I may assure you.


Another request to be noted...Gentle Readers?  I'm most certainly not always positive on many things...but I'm sure we owe respect to our American soldiers.  Through the memories John shares with us...may you find yourselves looking deeper into your own hearts and souls and history of memories made or made privy to.  It is fervently hoped, in my hearts' heart that you will, here, find yourselves more's the richer through inurement, a whisper, a fragment or the moments of another soldiers' own shared legacy.


  1. So touching and beautiful. A true hero...and I'm proud to say he's my Father too. Thank you for writing such a lovely tribute to a lovely man.

  2. In some small way,...I have hoped to offer up an act or words of military courtesy befitting our father "with love" and American soldiers and our protectors. Thank you dearling. Jolene

  3. Please thank this soldier for what he gave to the US!!!