Monday, March 5, 2007

Anniversary -- of sorts

I almost forgot. I don't know how I could.  but it was on March 5, 1945, I stepped on a land mine.

It was a German Shue mine.  It was designed, not to kill, but to take off a foot.  It did.  If you kill an enemy soldier you take him out of service, but if you maim him, you take him out, and three or four others who have to care for him.

And here is the irony.  It wasn't even covered.  In their haste, the enemy had started to lay down mines, but had to flee at our approach. I stepped on an uncovered mine.  And here is the greater irony.  What distracted me at the crucial moment? A civilian woman who was shouting from a nearby window, apparently trying to warn us about the mines. In trying to warn me, she diverted my attention for a couple of seconds...the exact wrong couple of seconds for me.

And here is the greatest irony of the whole fiasco...in trying to warn me, she distracted me so that I set off the bomb, and SHE WAS WOUNDED TOO. Go figure.

I don't know the name of the town.  I don't know the name of the woman who tried to help.  I don't know whatever happened to her with her wounds. I wonder if she ever thinks of me.  I must have been a sight...flung into the air and coming down with a thump. That fall hurt worst of all for a few seconds... the blast had not registered with me yet

My thoughts at the time.  I looked down at the instant my foot touched the mine. I saw my foot on the mine. I was surrounded by noise...enveloped in it. "It went off," I thought, and then thump, I landed on my bottom.  I must have flown six feet in the air, it was a proper bump.

That was fifty-twoyears ago.  I thought I would never forget it.  But I did.

7 comments:

jckfrstross said...

i don't know if i have ever told you this but THANK YOU FOR SERVING AND KEEPING AMERICA FREE!!

Deb

tendernoggle said...

Aww Chuck....I am so sorry...but that said, I am also grateful and want to thank you.
I too wonder what happened tot he poor lady tring to warn you???
Take care,
carlene

plieck30 said...

Thank you so much for serving our great country. Paula

tellsg said...

Oh Chuck. so sorry to hear how you lost your foot.  What country were you in when this happened?  Yes, I wonder if that lady wished she had kept her mouth shut and not tried to help - if she had, you would still have had your foot and she would have been ok too.  Maybe she never realised that she helped cause it to happen.  Hugs.  Terry x

funnyface0s0 said...

Hi Chuck - So many people have so much to thank you for including me, here in the UK.   When remembering those who lost their lives for us all those years ago not many of us remember those that were seriously injured and how it has affected their lives.    You are a credit to mankind.
With love
Jayne xx

magogos said...

I am so glad that you lived, even without the foot! Thank you-and all our "brave boys"-for serving our country. Margo

jacsher said...

I appreciate this entry.  I always enjoy reading your STUFF.  Also you have all my respect, as do all the troops who served in that WAR.  I think history shows we really had no choice in that one.  This is just a ONE GUN SALUTE!  But it is for you!
Respectfully,
Jack of the ShipsLog