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Before I Was Ever Born

  • Date Submitted: 03/30/2010 12:26 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 47 
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Before I Was Ever Born
    After my father died on January 3, 2006, on his birthday, which was ironic in itself, I
began to think about some of the stories he had told me about his combat experience with the 329th Infantry Regiment in the Central Rhine Valley of Germany during World War II and happened to recall three episodes in particular, any one of which might have ended my life before it ever began, making me realize just how much I have sometimes taken life for granted when I really shouldn’t have.
    The first episode, chronologically, involved my father being thrown from a troop train,
landing flat on his back on the rails after an explosion that took the lives of some of his men. He survived, of course, but with a ruptured disk and attendant problems for the rest of his life as a solid reminder of the experience and of how close he had come to being killed.
    The next was an incident which occurred while my father was in a foxhole with some buddies during the Battle of the Bulge. The German 88s were pounding their position unmercifully when my father heard someone in the rear call his name, which prompted him to turn his head at just the right moment as an artillery round exploded nearby, scattering its deadly shrapnel, killing everyone in the foxhole but him.
    The third, and probably the most poignant, episode occurred in the Harts Mountains of
Central Germany where my father, while on a reconnaissance patrol, faced a German officer with his pistol drawn, aimed directly at my father, who was only a few feet away. Luckily, the pistol misfired. The irony was that the war had already ended, but the SS school from which the officer was from had vowed to continue the fight.   Today, this pistol and a picture of the officer’s wife and children survive as a constant reminder of the insanity of war and the preciousness of life and why I should always treasure it.
    Needless to say, if not for a few miracles, my father would never have...


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