For two and one half years I worked at a retirement community center. During that time, I became very fond of Carl, a 93-year-old WWII vet. Since I left working at the center we continue to keep in touch and I visit him often.
We have delightful conversations about politics – he’s a republican and was very pleased when Trump was elected! Carl also tells military stories and shared some of his experiences from WWII.
Carl served with the 77th Infantry Division during the battle for Okinawa. From his story: “I went from Saipan to Okinawa as a replacement, to C Company, 306th Infantry Regiment of the 77th Division. The war was for real there. The company commander assigned me as a machine gunner because he said I was big enough to carry the heavy load. I told him I had heard that the Japanese really go after the machine gunners and he said, ‘I know that, but you will be the machine gunner.’ Then he said, ‘If you live the first three days, you will make it.’”
One particular story I recall Carl telling me about was during a fight while in the trenches. He specifically remembered a fellow soldier, a kid about 19, who had a terrible time. The young soldier was so distraught that he ran out of the trench screaming and ran into the field. Carl and his fellow soldiers could do nothing to stop him nor chase him. As Carl recalled the story, he teared up stating he always thought about that young man and what had happened to him. It was clear that even after all those years, the war still deeply affected him.
Carl once said, “I was ready to go to the Army when I was drafted. When it was over, I had done my part and was just ready to come home. I thank God every day that He let me come home, have a family and experience all of those joys and challenges that come with being alive. I am so very proud to be an American and hope that our country will always prosper and stand for what is right in the world.”
On Friday Carl was placed under hospice care. I have visited him over the weekend and although he is on morphine, he’s been able to recognize family and friends.
Please say a pray for him and his family during this difficult time. Thank you.