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Rated: E · Short Story · War · #2212735
Four relatives served in the military during WWII. One did not return.
There was a time when our country was not free. The king of England ruled our colonies and quite sternly. Most of the people in the colonies left Europe seeking freedom. But there wasn't any.

Eventually, the colonists' yearn for freedom was too great to ignore. They decided to declare independence from England, but the king would have no part of that.

It took three years and a flood of blood to finally win freedom. We have been a free country ever since, but not without the loss of life and more blood. The citizens have turned to young men and women to remain free. Freedom is not a gift. It isn't presented in a finely wrapped box with a shiny ribbon. Freedom must be bought with blood and many lives. Our nation owes more to those who have served than it can ever repay. Four of those who served were my relatives during WWII. They include my father, two uncles, and a second cousin.

My father was an MP (Military Police) during the war. He had a few stories to share with me. One uncle served with the Army Air Corps in the Pacific. He, too, had a few stories. My second cousin was a crew member on a B-17 Flying Fortress. His plane was shot down somewhere over the North Sea. There were ten crew members on a B-17. On his plane, nine crew members managed to bail out. He didn't. His body was never found. On a monument in an American cemetery in France, his name is included with other Missing In Action servicemen.

The fourth man, another uncle, commanded a Sherman tank in Europe after D-Day. His story is the reverse of my cousin's. My uncle survived. His crew did not.

As part of General Patton's armored division, he saw a lot of action. It was near the town of Le Mans when a German Panzer surprised a number of Shermans. The Panzer managed to destroy several Shermans while my uncle and several other Shermans were retreating. The Panzer had a difficult decision to make. Which Sherman was it going to destroy next?

Being the most armored part of a Sherman was on its front, the Shermans were backing up. Unfortunately, the Panzer chose my uncle's tank. One shell was all it took to breach the armor and kill the three tankmen inside. My uncle was halfway out of the tank at the top of the turret, so his injuries were limited to his legs and feet.

The Panzer, along with supporting ground troops and several other Panzers, routed the Americans and took prisoners. My uncle became a POW (Prisoner of War) that day.

- incomplete -

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