Friday, December 25, 2015

MORE - ON THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE TRUCE

"Truce In the Forest"   by Fritz Vincken

                                                                    
                                                                
 " It was Christmas Eve,
  and the last, desperate German offensive of 
  World War II raged around our tiny cabin.
  Suddenly, there was a knock on the door...
 "


When we heard the knock on our door that Christmas Eve in 1944, neither Mother nor I had the slightest inkling of the quiet miracle that lay in store for us.

I was 12 then, and we were living in a small cottage in the Hürtgen Forest, near the German-Belgian border. Father had stayed at the cottage on hunting weekends before the war; when Allied bombers partly destroyed our hometown of Aachen, he sent us to live there. He had been ordered into the civil-defense fire guard in the border town of Monschau, four miles away.

"You'll be safe in the woods," he had told me. "Take care of Mother. Now you're the man of the family."

But, nine days before Christmas, Field Marshal von Rundstedt had launched the last, desperate German offensive of the war, and now, as I went to the door, the Battle of the Bulge was raging all around us. We heard the incessant booming of field guns; planes soared continuously overhead; at night, searchlights stabbed through the darkness. Thousands of Allied and German soldiers were fighting and dying nearby.

When that first knock came, Mother quickly blew out the candles; then, as I went to answer it, she stepped ahead of me and pushed open the door. Outside, like phantoms against the snowclad trees, stood two steel-helmeted men. One of them spoke to Mother in a language we did not understand, pointing to a third man lying in the snow. She realized before I did that these were American soldiers. Enemies!

Mother stood silent, motionless, her hand on my shoulder. They were armed and could have forced their entrance, yet they stood there and asked with their eyes. And the wounded man seemed more dead than alive. "Kommt rein," Mother said finally. "Come in." The soldiers carried their comrade inside and stretched him out on my bed.

None of them understood German. Mother tried French, and one of the soldiers could converse in that language. As Mother went to look after the wounded man, she said to me, "The fingers of those two are numb. Take off their jackets and boots, and bring in a bucket of snow." Soon I was rubbing their blue feet with snow.

We learned that the stocky, dark- haired fellow was Jim; his friend, tall and slender, was Robin. Harry, the wounded one, was now sleeping on my bed, his face as white as the snow outside. They'd lost their battalion and had wandered in the forest for three days, looking for the Americans, hiding from the Germans. They hadn't shaved, but still, without their heavy coats, they looked merely like big boys. And that was the way Mother began to treat them.

Now Mother said to me, "Go get Hermann. And bring six potatoes."
This was a serious departure from our pre-Christmas plans. Hermann was the plump rooster(named after portly Hermann G ring, Hitler's No. 2, for whom Mother had little affection) that we had been fattening for weeks in the hope that Father would be home for Christmas. But, some hours before, when it was obvious that Father would not make it, Mother had decided that Hermann should live a few more days, in case Father could get home for New Year's. Now she had changed her mind again: Hermann would serve an immediate, pressing purpose.

While Jim and I helped with the cooking, Robin took care of Harry. He had a bullet through his upper leg, and had almost bled to death. Mother tore a bedsheet into long strips for bandages.

Soon, the tempting smell of roast chicken permeated our room. I was setting the table when once again there came a knock at the door. 

Expecting to find more lost Americans, I opened the door without hesitation. There stood four soldiers, wearing uniforms quite familiar to me after five years of war. They were Wehrmacht¡ªGermans!
I was paralyzed with fear. Although still a child, I knew the harsh law: sheltering enemy soldiers constituted high treason. We could all be shot! Mother was frightened, too. Her face was white, but she stepped outside and said, quietly, "Fröhliche Weihnachten." The soldiers wished her a Merry Christmas, too.

"We have lost our regiment and would like to wait for daylight," explained the corporal. "Can we rest here?"
"Of course," Mother replied, with a calmness born of panic. "You can also have a fine, warm meal and eat till the pot is empty."
The Germans smiled as they sniffed the aroma through the half-open door. "But," Mother added firmly, "we have three other guests, whom you may not consider friends." Now her voice was suddenly sterner than I'd ever heard it before. "This is Christmas Eve, and there will be no shooting here."

"Who's inside?" the corporal demanded. "Amerikaner?"
Mother looked at each frost-chilled face. "Listen," she said slowly. "You could be my sons, and so could those in there. A boy with a gunshot wound, fighting for his life. His two friends¡ªlost like you and just as hungry and exhausted as you are. This one night," she turned to the corporal and raised her voice a little, "this Christmas night, let us forget about killing."
The corporal stared at her. There were two or three endless seconds of silence. Then Mother put an end to indecision. "Enough talking!" she ordered and clapped her hands sharply. "Please put your weapons here on the woodpile¡ªand hurry up before the others eat the dinner!"
Dazedly, the four soldiers placed their arms on the pile of firewood just inside the door: three carbines, a light machine gun and two bazookas. Meanwhile, Mother was speaking French rapidly to Jim. He said something in English, and to my amazement I saw the American boys, too, turn their weapons over to Mother.

Now, as Germans and Americans tensely rubbed elbows in the small room, Mother was really on her mettle. Never losing her smile, she tried to find a seat for everyone. We had only three chairs, but Mother's bed was big, and on it she placed two of the newcomers side by side with Jim and Robin.
Despite the strained atmosphere, Mother went right on preparing dinner. But Hermann wasn't going to grow any bigger, and now there were four more mouths to feed. "Quick," she whispered to me, "get more potatoes and some oats. These boys are hungry, and a starving man is an angry one."

While foraging in the storage room, I heard Harry moan. When I returned, one of the Germans had put on his glasses to inspect the American's wound. "Do you belong to the medical corps?" Mother asked him. "No," he answered. "But I studied medicine at Heidelberg until a few months ago." Thanks to the cold, he told the Americans in what sounded like fairly good English, Harry's wound hadn't become infected. "He is suffering from a severe loss of blood," he explained to Mother. "What he needs is rest and nourishment."

Relaxation was now beginning to replace suspicion. Even to me, all the soldiers looked very young as we sat there together. Heinz and Willi, both from Cologne, were 16. The German corporal, at 23, was the oldest of them all. From his food bag he drew out a bottle of red wine, and Heinz managed to find a loaf of rye bread. Mother cut that in small pieces to be served with the dinner; half the wine, however, she put away¡ª"for the wounded boy."

Then Mother said grace. I noticed that there were tears in her eyes as she said the old, familiar words, "Komm, Herr Jesus. Be our guest." And as I looked around the table, I saw tears, too, in the eyes of the battle-weary soldiers, boys again, some from America, some from Germany, all far from home.

Just before midnight, Mother went to the doorstep and asked us to join her to look up at the Star of Bethlehem. We all stood beside her except Harry, who was sleeping. For all of us during that moment of silence, looking at the brightest star in the heavens, the war was a distant, almost-forgotten thing.

Our private armistice continued next morning. Harry woke in the early hours, and swallowed some broth that Mother fed him. With the dawn, it was apparent that he was becoming stronger. Mother now made him an invigorating drink from our one egg, the rest of the corporal's wine and some sugar. Everyone else had oatmeal. Afterward, two poles and Mother's best tablecloth were fashioned into a stretcher for Harry.
The corporal then advised the Americans how to find their way back to their lines. Looking over Jim's map, the corporal pointed out a stream. "Continue along this creek," he said, "and you will find the 1st Army rebuilding its forces on its upper course." The medical student relayed the information in English.

"Why don't we head for Monschau?" Jim had the student ask. "Nein!" the corporal exclaimed. "We've retaken Monschau."
Now Mother gave them all back their weapons. "Be careful, boys," she said. "I want you to get home someday where you belong. God bless you all!" The German and American soldiers shook hands, and we watched them disappear in opposite directions.

When I returned inside, Mother had brought out the old family Bible. I glanced over her shoulder. The book was open to the Christmas story, the Birth in the Manger and how the Wise Men came from afar bearing their gifts. Her finger was tracing the last line from Matthew 2:12: "...they departed into their own country another way."

A SMALL TRUCE DURING WORLD WAR TWO

video

Thursday, November 26, 2015

LYRICS TO "MY THANKSGIVING" by Don Henley


Well, a lot of things have happened
Since the last time we spoke
Some of them are funny
Some of them ain't no joke
And I trust you will forgive me
If I lay it on the line
I always thought you were a friend of mine
And sometimes I think about you
I wonder how you're doing, now
And what you're going through
'Cause the last time I saw you, we were playing with fire
We were loaded with passion and a burning desire
For every breath, for every day of living
And this is my thanksgiving
Now, the trouble with you and me, my friend
Is the trouble with this nation
Too many blessings, too little appreciation
And I know that kind of notion, well, it just ain't cool
So send me back to Sunday school
Because I'm tired of waiting for reason to arrive
And it's too long we've been living these unexamined lives
'Cause I've got great expectations, I've got family and friends
I've got satisfying work, I've got a back that bends
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my thanksgiving
And have you noticed that an angry man
Can only get so far?
Until he reconciles the way he thinks things ought to be
With the way things are
Here in this fragmented world, I still believe
In learning how to give love, how to receive it
And I would not be among those who abuse this privilege
Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge
And I don't mind saying that I, I still love it all
I wallowed in the springtime
Now, I'm welcoming the fall
For every moment of joy, every hour of fear
For every winding road that brought me here
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my thanksgiving
For everyone who helped me start
And for everything that broke my heart
For every breath, for every day of living


Lyrics to Johnny Cash song Thanksgiving Prayer


We've come to the time in the season
When family and friends gather near
To offer a prayer of Thanksgiving
For blessings we've known through the year
To join hands and thank the creator
And now when Thanksgiving is due
This year when I count my blessings
I'm thanking the Lord He made you
This year when I count my blessings
I'm thanking the Lord He made you
I'm grateful for the laughter of children
The sun and the wind and the rain
The color of blue in your sweet eyes
The sight of a high ball and train
The moon rise over a prairie
Old love that you've made new
This year when I count my blessings
I'm thanking the Lord He made you
This year when I count my blessings
I'm thanking the Lord He made you
And when the time comes to be going
It won't be in sorrow and tear
I'll kiss you goodbye and I'll go on my way
Grateful for all of the years
I thank for all that you gave me
For teaching me what love can do
Thanksgiving day for the rest of my life
I'm thanking the Lord He made you
Thanksgiving day for the rest of my life
I'm thanking the Lord He made you

Sunday, October 18, 2015

COME OUT AND SUPPORT OUR POLICE

We look forward to seeing everyone in Acacia Park, today at 3:00 for the Colorado Springs, Pro Police Rally. I am proud to be one of the speakers. They have a great line up of patriots to speak, rocking firefighters 9's a Pair will play live music, and it will be a great afternoon to show your support for those who serve and protect. In the words of founder, Ron MacLachlan: "Not standing up, is the same as standing down." So stand up with us, and with those who stand up FOR US.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

MARCO RUBIO'S COLORADO CAMPAIGN MANAGER ON WEDNESDAY PROGRAM



On Wednesday, we will take a look at Marco Rubio and his campaign in Colorado.  Our guest will be John Penry - the Colorado Campaign Chairman.  Josh Penry is the former minority leader of the Colorado Seante.  Elected in 2006, Penry was the youngest member of the Colorado state Senate.  Prior to serving in the state Senate, Penry served in the state House Of Representatives for one term.  Penry is a native of Colorado and a long-time resident of Western Colorado. Penry graduated from Grand Junction High School and Mesa State College, where he quarterbacked the Mesa State Mavericks football team and served as student body Presidenrt.  In 1998, Penry was named the National Scholar Athlete of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association, an award given to Peyton Manning the previous year. Penry graduated summa cum laude from Mesa State in 1998.  Josh is the father of two children, a son Chase and a daughter Emme.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

JOIN ME MONDAY - GOLFERS NEEDED FOR GREAT EVEN ON MONDAY

Most folks assume that High School sports programs are fully funded by tax dollars.  That is seldom the truth.  Most schools need to do private fund raising in order to make up the balance.  I am very proud to help The Cheyenne Mountain Baseball Program with their 6th Annual - Indians Baseball Foundation Golf Tournament on Monday October 5th.  There is still room for foursomes and individual players.  It will be at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort with registration at 7:30 am and a shotgun start at 8:30 am.  Lunch and Awards are at 1:30 pm.  I will be there right after my radio show on Monday.  Please join me and have a chance to hang out with two time Superbowl Champion Barry Helton and bid on silent auction items signed by him as well as Baseball Hall of Fame member Rick "Goose" Gossage (his son Todd was an Indians baseball player).  For more information call or text Lisa Helton at 719-502-9949 or email her at lhelton9@aol.com.  See you Monday.





Thursday, September 10, 2015

A TOAST TO THE FLAG

Are you tired of people burning or stomping on the U.S. Flag. If so, please take time out to SUPPORT our flag. "A Toast To The Flag" event this Saturday from 11:00am-2:00pm downtown in Acacia Park. I am the master ceremonies. Please share this with your friends via fb, twitter, e-mail and instagram, etc.


Friday, August 21, 2015

NAZI GOLD TRAIN


WARSAW, Poland -- Two men in Poland claim they have found a legendary Nazi train that according to local lore was loaded with gold, gems and valuable art and vanished into a system of secret tunnels as the Germans fled advancing Soviet forces at the end of World War II.
Historians say the existence of the train has never been conclusively proven, but authorities are not passing up this chance at possibly recovering treasures that have sparked the imaginations of local people for decades.
"We believe that a train has been found. We are taking this seriously," Marika Tokarska, an official in the southwestern Polish district of Walbrzych, told The Associated Press on Thursday.
She said her office has received two letters this month from a law firm representing the men, a Pole and a German who are remaining anonymous, saying they are seeking 10 percent of the value of the train's contents for revealing its location.
She says that hiring a law firm gives credibility to the two men's claims, as do indications that they are familiar with the train's contents.
Already, the district governor has convened a meeting of firefighters, police and others to explore how they can safely handle the train if it is located. Not only could it be armed with explosives, but methane gas underground could add to the risk of an explosion.
"It could be dangerous," Tokarska said.
The train is said to have gone missing in May 1945. Legend says it was armed and loaded with treasure and disappeared after entering a complex of tunnels under the Owl Mountains, a secret project known as "Riese" - or Giant - which the Nazis never finished. At the time the area belonged to Germany but now lies in Poland.