...The good people of America had met the threat of war and were dealing with it in a heroic manner. When our security became thratened, people willingly went off to fight the war. I felt that everyone should meet his or her responsibility to help win the war... The courage, dedication, sacrifices and hardships that it takes to fight a war had to come from the belief in the greatness of America and the yearning to defend it... History reveals that without loyalty and patriotism, a Nation will never survive.
...Lenny and I both were out of breath and shaking like a leaf, but they didn't seem to notice it. This was not something we were accustomed to doing every day. No 88 shells landed anywhere around the old building that afternoon or evening before we left with the lieutenant at about 8:00 P.M. I later learned that no shells landed there that night either. I felt very proud of myself, and I also felt that I had conquered my fear of combat, and killing, or as much so as one could expect to. I had always felt that fear could be conqured by facing the fearful situation head on, becoming involved in what you were afraid of, and accomplishing something. I now felt much better, and I believed that I could deal with just about any situation without being overcome by fear. My father had always taught me to always "catch the bull by the horns." I had now done that, and I felt some pride and satisfaction in having been able to destroy two of the enemy. I was as much afraid as any of the other men, and I never saw a soldier that didn't appear to be afraid in combat. I reasoned that I should put fear behind me as much as possible and just do my job as I was trained to do, and as I intended to do as a Patriotic American Soldier. I had asked for combat, I got it, and here I was, up to my ears in it. There was no possible way to now avoid it, or escape from it, so the only altenative was to call upon all of my resources, and fight like hell, like we were supposed to. It never occured to me to let fear deter me in fighting to kill as many of the enemy as I could and help win this war...
...The entire Saar River area was crawling with German Soldiers. They were everywhere. There were no whole buildings standing anywhere. The dust, smoke and fumes from exploding shells, as well as the stench of dead bodies, rotting potatoes and other wast and debris of no man's land, in a long dead and decaying city, hung heavily over the old city, making breathing difficult and very unpleasant. Rubble was eveywhere, even out into the center of the streets. The air was so thick that you felt that it could be cut with a knife. Without the floodlights, fighting in this area at night would have been impossible. All of the fighting would then have to be done in the daylight. This would have been suicide, in that the Germans had the advantage of knowing the area, as well as it being on their own turf. They had well defined lanes of fire, hidden observation posts, accurate maps, and weapons that were just as accurate, which were well suited to this kind of situation. It would have been hand to hand fighting in broad daylight without the light from the GI Moon at night...
...I went to sleep believing that there was an angel looking after me. My sister had written me that my mother would get on her knees every night beside her bed and pray for an hour or more for my safety. She and my father had placed a large map of Europe on the wall, and each time she heard the news that told where the 3rd Army was, and what it was doing, she would mark it on the map... I was convinced beyond a doubt that there was a power more powerful than any President or General, who was looking after and protecting me. I renewed my solemn promise to my Almighty God, that if he would return me home, safe and sound, and in one piece, I would continue to fight terrorism and oppression so long as I lived.
...I would lay in the cellar trying to rest, and often think about where we were and what we were doing here. I thought of back home, and what my family was doing. I knew this was war, a big war, and the whole world was riding on the outcome of it. I knew this war would be forever recorded in the history books, but I was anxious to see it over and peace restored everywhere. Each day I felt I needed to do more to help win this war quicker, and I wanted to do more. It dwelled on my mind what we were fighting for. I well knew that it was our American way of life that we were fighting for. Not only that, the price we were paying was for all the great values we Americans possessed and most of us took them for granted, unlike people in the rest of the world, who wished they had what we had, things like liberty and freedom. We were fighting to make the world safe for democracy. If we believed in all these things, then what we were enduring would be well worth it. It was for those intangible things that we looked forward to enjoying when this terrible catastrophy ended. No amount of money could purchase things like Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They had to be fought for, or they would be lost forever. Never once did I forget about those that I had seen make the supreme sacrifice. Nor did I ever forget about other American soldiers there, near us, who had no cellars to sleep in but only an open foxhole in the snow. I thought about those American prisoners who were shot in cold blood at Malmedy, Belgium, especially my good friend Jack Richardson whose father was the Baptist Minister in my hometown of Poplarville, Mississippi.
...He was standing in knee deep snow in a field at a crossroads near Malmedy, Belgium, along with over eighty other American GIs who had been captured, when they were slaughtered there by orders from an SS Lieutenant. Those brave men gave all that they had for their country, and I was determined to never forget my buddy Mark and the ultimate price that all had paid.
...The big bunkers were now neutralized and quiet. We assumed that they had abandoned their heavily fortified, impenetratable Siegfried Line fortresses and fled into Germany proper. The old city of Saarlautern was now deserted of both our, and the Nazi troops, leaving only the dead bodies of both sides that lay everywhere. We assembled and walked across the bridge and down the road to the east, to the Drangon's Teeth. There was a complete absence of enemy opposition, no Krauts were to be seen anywhere, nor did we hear any enemy fire. We nevertheless kept up our guard. We walked down this road until we arrived at the Dragon's Teeth, that is, through the pass in the opening where the road passed through these many rows of concrete and steel pylons. Our engineers had already arrived there immediately before we arrived, and had cut, or blown the steel barriers apart so our foot soldiers and vehicles could pass throught the roadway opening in the apparently never ending multiple rows of concrete and steel pylons.
...I shall never forget that hazy early morning as we crossed this barrier of many rows of concrete and steel pylons. It was an awesome sight. It was a great relief to know that those deadly menacing concrete bunkers on the Siegfried Line were now neutralzied and were some distance behind us. As we walked through the passageway throught these many rows of concrete pylons, I looked to my right and to my left, and saw these seemingly endless rows of pylons that faded into the gray gloom of gun smoke and dust laden smog of the early morning atmosphere, as we walked through that narrow roadway pass in the Dragon's Teeth of the Siegfried Line, and entered Germany proper. These rows of pylons, permanently implanted in the earth, appeared as ugly scars on God's beautiful planet. It was a very exciting experience to say the least, to know that we had breached Hitler's impenetratable West Wall. This was one great event that words will never be able to adequately describe, as well as one that will be forever indelibly imprented in my memory.
Liberty & Freedom Productions "A Test of Faith and Courage" Copyright (c) 2000 by Oscar Buren Ladner, Author