‘The Unspoken Stories’ captures the very essence of what Veterans Day is about. Thank you to my friend, Debbie, for sharing this personal story.
“We all know someone who is a veteran. And Veteran’s Day is a gracious holiday, set aside from our regular routine, to show them respect. Right? If you’re like me, on this day we all say thank you with a moment of gratitude and justify that as honorable.
Except mine changed a few years ago when my Father-in-law began sharing with us around the table that day. World War II – The Battle of the Bulge was where his stories came from. We had never heard him speak of details like he did that day. At times, while recalling the moments, he would begin to weep. We all sat there with tears in our eyes silently listening to his openness.
While at the Battle of the Bulge, they were to cross a bridge. A sniper had zoned in on the soldiers as they ran across. That’s when he spoke about his best friend “Hoppy”. Hoppy crossed the bridge ahead of him. As Dad ran across the bridge, there lay Hoppy. The sniper had killed him. As they were trying to make it to a nearby farmhouse, the enemy was throwing grenades. A grenade landed near Dad and knocked him backwards. His front teeth were knocked out and his gun was jammed. He said he remembered Hoppy and ran back to where his body lay to retrieve his gun. The stories were still painful for Dad to recall. I feel I heard his words that day with my heart…. and it changed ME.
Life Changing Decision
Dad said he’d never forget when he reported for his next assignment and was told he had unusually been given TWO assignments. His two choices, return to the front lines of the war or a stateside assignment at any Army base. Dad’s choice to stay in the states led him to a little Assembly of God church in Georgia. There he gave his heart to the Lord and later was called into the ministry where God used him to reach so many!
While Dad was willing to share with us his memories of the war, the Veterans you know as family or friends may never share with you their horrific experiences. But should they ever want to talk, I hope there are ears ready to just silently listen. Let’s look at our Veteran’s with our hearts, knowing they have walked places we will never have to walk. They’ve experienced sights we’ll never have to see. Behind their eyes are unspoken stories that deserve our most respectful, reverent honor!”