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A Deafening Silence

Since war came to the West on September 11, 2001, only a handful of Ephs have read these words. Are you among them?

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My Home Is in the Valley Amid the Hills

Each morning I watch the sunlight drifting down through the pines, scattering the clouds from the mountain sides, driving the mists from the glens.

Each night I see the purple lights as they creep up the slopes of the Dome and the shadows as they fall on wood and stream.

My home is among young men — young men who dream dreams and see visions; young men who will carry my banner out into the world and make the world better because they have lived with me in my valley amid the hills.

Among my sons who have left me, some have caught the poet’s fire, and their words have touched men’s hearts and have bought cheer to a weary world.

And some, in answer to the call of country, have gone out to battle for the common rights of men against the enemy. Some of them will not return to me, for they have given all they had, and now they rest at the foot of a simple cross or lie deep below the waves. But even as they passed, the music of the chimes was in their ears and before their eyes were visions of the quiet walks beneath the elms

Whether apart in solitude or pressing along the crowded highways, all these who have breathed my spirit and touched my hand have played their parts for the better, for

I am ALMA MATER:
I am WILLIAMS.

This 1926 eulogy, written by Professor of Rhetoric Carroll Lewis Maxey, comes from page 136 of Williams College in the World War, a beautifully arranged remembrance of those Ephs who served in freedom’s cause during the Great War. To Williams students today, World War I is as far away as the War of 1812 was to the generation that Professor Maxey sought to inspire. What will the great-grandchildren of today’s Ephs think of us? What will they remember and what will they forget?

1st Lt Nate Krissoff ’03, USMC died a year ago yesterday. Since that time, we have maintained a link at the upper right to our collection of related posts, as sad and inspiring as anything you will ever read at EphBlog. Yet, tomorrow, that link comes down. Time leaves behind the bravest of our Williams warriors and Nate’s sacrifice now passes from News to History, joining the roll call of honored heroes back to Colonel Ephraim Williams, who died in battle during the Bloody Morning Scout on September 8, 1755.


More than 250 years have marched by from Ephraim’s death to Nate’s. But the traditions of military brotherhood and sacrifice are the same as they ever were, the same as they will ever be as long as Ephs stand willing to do violence against our enemies so that my daughters and granddaughters and great-granddaughters might sleep safely in their beds at night. Consider this moving ceremony in Iraq for Nate in the week after his death.

Before there was Taps, there was the final symbolic roll-call, unanswered. “Krissoff,” intoned Sergeant Major Kenneth Pickering.

“Lt. Krissoff.”

“1st Lt. Nathan Krissoff.”

By culture and custom, the Marine Corps is given to ritual and none so important as the farewell to comrades who have fallen in battle. And so the memorial service here for 1st Lt. Nathan Krissoff, intelligence officer for the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, was both stylized and achingly intimate.

The author, Tony Perry of the Los Angeles Times, captures perfectly the ethos of the Marine Corps. During Officer Candidate School, our Platoon Sergeant, Gunnery Sergeant Anderson, sang a haunting song of blood and sacrifice. The chorus went:

Let me tell you how I feel.
Why Marines must fight and die?

I can only remember snatches now, twenty years later. It was a short song, repeated slowly, with emotion. For years, I have looked for the words to that plaintive melody, the eternal warrior’s lament of pain and suffering. Gunny Anderson only sang it with our platoon a handful of times, only when he felt that we were worthy of inclusion in the brotherhood of arms.

The last of those times was near the end of our training. At OCS, the fun-filled day begins with PT (physical training) at around 0500. Our entire company (200 men) is standing at attention in the humid Virginia morning. Back in July, there had been plenty of light to start exercising that early, but, by August, the later sunrise left us all waiting in darkness.

Gunny Anderson had the “duty” that morning, so he was the only member of the staff present. The others, well aware of the timing of sunrise, would be along shortly. Gunny Andersen, recognizing that graduation day was near and that he had us all to himself, led the entire company in that song, including the other platoons who had never heard it before.

And he did it in a whisper. We all stood there — having survived almost 10 weeks of brutal training, shouting our lungs out day after day — and whispered the song with him, 200 voices joined with the spirits of the Marines who had gone before us. Nate is with those spirits now. When the next Eph Marine is marching on that same parade deck during OCS, Nate will be watching him as well.

I remember the name of my platoon sergeant from 20 years ago. My father still remembers the name of his platoon sergeant from 50 years before. Let none of us forget the sacrifices of Marines like Nate and Myles Crosby Fox ’40.

Krissoff, 25, a champion swimmer and kayaker in college, was killed Dec. 9 by a roadside bomb that also injured other Marines. Hundreds of grim-faced Marines who knew Krissoff came to the Chapel of Hope, the converted Iraqi Army auditorium, for the service.

“We have a bond here, we have a family here,” said Staff Sgt. Allan Clemons, his voice breaking as he delivered a eulogy. “Nathan was part of that family.”

There were embraces, but not in the sobbing style one might see at a civilian funeral. The Marines put arms around another and slapped each others’ backs — the sound was like repeated rifle reports in the cavernous hall. Navy Cmdr. Mark Smith, a Presbyterian chaplain, said later he has seen Marines do this at other memorials. “They need to touch each other,” he said. “I’ve heard them talk about ‘hugging it out.’ But they want to do it in a manly way.”

By all accounts, Krissoff was a charismatic leader who had impressed his superiors and earned the trust of his subordinates.

War always takes the best of my Marines.

Civilians may not recognize the meaning of the first person possessive in that last sentence, may attribute its usage to my megalomania. Indeed, to avoid that confusion, my initial instinct was to write “our Marines.”

Yet that is not the way that real Marines think about our Corps. Despite defending an independent, freedom-loving country, the Marines are fundamentally socialist in outlook. Everything belongs to every individual. This is not just my rifle or my uniform, but my tank and my obstacle course. And what is mine is yours. See the bootcamp scenes from Full Metal Jacket for an introduction to an outlook as far away from Williams as Falluja is from Williamstown.

At OCS, the worst sin is not to be slow or stupid or weak, although all these sins are real enough. The worst sin is to be selfish, to be an “individual,” to care more about what happens to you then what happens to your squad, your platoon, your battalion or your Corps. What happens to you, as an individual, is irrelevant.

When the instructors at OCS are angry with you (and they get angry with everyone), they will scream: “What are you? A freakin’ individual? Is that what you are? A freakin’ individual?”

To get the full effect of this instruction, you need to imagine it being shouted from 5 inches away by the loudest voice you have ever heard.

When they shouted it at me, I was sorely tempted to respond:

Yes! Indeed! I am an individual! Four hundred of years of Enlightenment philosophy have demonstrated that this is true. My degree in philosophy from Williams College has taught me that I, as an individual, have value, that my needs and wants are not subservient to those of the larger society, that I have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

For once, I kept my mouth shut.

In quieter moments at OCS, I recalled Rousseau’s parable of the Spartan mother from Emile.

A Spartan mother had five sons in the army and awaited news of the battle. A Helot arrived; trembling she asked his news. “Your five sons have been killed.” “Vile slave, was that what I asked you?” “We have won the victory.” She ran to the temple to give thanks to the gods. That was a citizen.

For Rousseau, there are two ways for a man to be free. First, he can live alone, cut off from humankind but self-sufficient. He needs no one. Second, a man can be a citizen and so, like the Spartan mother, unconcerned with his own, and his family’s, well-being. All that matters is the polis.

A Marine is many things, but not a freakin’ individual.

The article continues:

He grew up in Truckee, Nev., graduated from Williams College, majoring in international relations, and hoped someday to work for the Central Intelligence Agency.

Lt. Col. William Seely, the battalion commander, talked of the silence left by death of Krissoff and other Marines. “When we depart these lands, when we deploy home, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the long silence of our friends,” he said. “Nathan…your silence will be deafening.”

If there was mourning, there was also anger that, as the chaplain said, Krissoff “was taken from us by evil men.”

This is true and false. Marines do not sympathize with the insurgents whom they battle but they do empathize with them. “Clifton Chapel” by Sir Henry Newbolt describes this duality in the oath that every warrior takes.

To set the cause above renown,
To love the game beyond the prize,
To honour, while you strike him down,
The foe that comes with fearless eyes;
To count the life of battle good,
And dear the land that gave you birth,
And dearer yet the brotherhood
That binds the brave of all the earth.

Most of those responsible for Krissoff’s death are now themselves dead, killed in battle by Krissoff’s fellow Marines.

Among the readings and quotations was the classic from World War I, “In Flanders Fields.” The poem challenges the living to continue the fight and not break faith with the dead: “Take up our quarrel with the foe/To you from failing hands we throw/The torch: be yours to hold it high….”

I did not know, when I first wrote of Nate’s death, that his fellow Marines would also be using “In Flanders Fields” as a way of memorializing his sacrifice. Who will take up the torch thrown by Nate? There are no Williams students heading to OCS this coming summer. Are there no warriors left among the Ephs?

Williams College in the World War opens with a call for remembrance.

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The text, by Solomon Bulkley Griffin, class of 1872, begins:

The wave of full-hearted devotion that rose in the World War has receded from its crest, as must have been in times more normal. But never will there be forgetfulness of it. Memory of the glory that wave bore aloft is the priceless possession of all the colleges.

The service of Williams men enshrined in this volume is of abiding import. By it the past was made glorious, as the future will be shadowed while it is illumined. Natural it was to go forward when God quickened the souls of men to serve the need of the world, and so they held themselves fortunate.

Indeed. Yet are Griffin’s assurances that we have nothing to fear from “forgetfulness” correct? I worry, and not just because of the contempt with which faculty members like Mark Taylor treat the US military. Consider the College’s official description of the most prestigious prize at Williams, the only award presented on graduation day.

WILLIAM BRADFORD TURNER CITIZENSHIP PRIZE. From a fund established in memory of William Bradford Turner, 1914, who was killed in action in France in September, 1918, a cash prize is awarded to the member of the graduating class who, in the judgment of the faculty and of the graduating class, has best fulfilled her or his obligations to the College, to fellow students, and to self. The committee of award, appointed by the President of the College, is composed jointly of faculty members and members of the graduating class.

Was Williams Bradford Turner ’14 just a soldier who was “killed in action in France?” Does this description do justice to Turner or is it an example of the “forgetfulness” that Griffin thought unlikely? Consider:

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He led a small group of men to the attack, under terrific artillery and machinegun fire, after they had become separated from the rest of the company in the darkness. Single-handed he rushed an enemy machinegun which had suddenly opened fire on his group and killed the crew with his pistol. He then pressed forward to another machinegun post 25 yards away and had killed 1 gunner himself by the time the remainder of his detachment arrived and put the gun out of action. With the utmost bravery he continued to lead his men over 3 lines of hostile trenches, cleaning up each one as they advanced, regardless of the fact that he had been wounded 3 times, and killed several of the enemy in hand-to-hand encounters. After his pistol ammunition was exhausted, this gallant officer seized the rifle of a dead soldier, bayoneted several members of a machinegun crew, and shot the other. Upon reaching the fourth-line trench, which was his objective, 1st Lt. Turner captured it with the 9 men remaining in his group and resisted a hostile counterattack until he was finally surrounded and killed.

The most important prize awarded by Williams College is named in honor of a winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor, and virtually no one at Williams knows it. If Williams today does not remember that 1st Lt William Bradford Turner ’14 won the Congressional Medal of Honor, then who will remember 1st Lt Nathanial Krissoff ’03 one hundred years from now?

Both died for us, for ALMA MATER, for Williams and the West.

Krissoff’s brothers bade him farewell in Anbar just one year ago.

When the roll-call and Taps were finished, the Marines came single-file to the altar to kneel in front of an inverted rifle with a helmet placed on the buttstock. Each was alone in his grief.

As are we all.

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#1 Comment By David On December 10, 2007 @ 12:39 am

Notes:

1) The article ends with:

“One of the best lessons we will learn in Iraq is how to honor those who won’t be coming home,” said 1st Lt. Daniel Ballard, another of the eulogists. After three years of deadly conflict in Al Anbar Province, it is a lesson the Marines have had much opportunity to learn.

1st Lt Ballard shared pictures of Nate with us.

2) Thanks to Captain Joel Iams ’01, USMC for information about Williams College in the World War.

3) Original link to the Los Angeles Times story no longer works. If anyone can provide a better one or a cache of the original, I would appreciate it.

4) You can right click over the images and select “View Image”, and then click again, to see details of the scans. Apologies for the poor quality and amateur lay-out. If any HTML expert had suggestions for how to make this look nicer, please let me know.

#2 Comment By Will Slack ’11 On December 10, 2007 @ 1:06 am

Thank you for putting this together, David.

#3 Comment By frank uible On December 10, 2007 @ 5:41 am

I pray that these words will be inapplicable to my great-great-grandchildren, but of course any reading of the human race’s past performance charts shouts that a positive response to my supplication is a much longer shot than pick six at Saratoga.

#4 Comment By FROSH mom On December 10, 2007 @ 10:33 am

David,

This is such an amazing post….and a brave one. It is thoughtful, obviously very personal, and beautifully written and presented on your part. It serves, to not only fill me with gratitude for all those willing to fight…but it also makes me think of my father, now gone.

He was a paratrooper; a sergeant in the thick of it in WWII…. so, so young. He barely made it home. And more was permanently scarred than his body. In place of what the fighting took from him was a box full of medals, purple heart included.

In retrospect, I realize he never fully recovered. But he was very proud of his service. And because of your post, I will now think of him as “with those spirits”, along with the buddies that he lost, and along with Nate. He would have liked that.

Thank you for this.

#5 Comment By JQP On December 10, 2007 @ 2:51 pm

There were two people in my life who served and had a big impact on me.

My father was in the 82nd Airborne, 504th Paratroop Infantry Regiment, E Company during the WWII. His war experience shaped his beliefs, and to an extent I probably don’t fully recognize, mine too. He died in 2005 at age 82.

My friend Sharon, Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, CW5 served all of her adult life in the army, 26 years. She was a wonderful person with phenomenal leadership characteristics and a quiet determiniation to always do the right thing and help people wherever she could. She died over Tikrit Iraq in a Black Hawk helicopter on a morale mission. She was scheduled to retire with her husband, a navy medical officer and her son. She was buried in

I think of them and the Ephs who have served and given their lives. I pray it is always for a just and moral reason.

#6 Comment By JQP On December 10, 2007 @ 2:53 pm

She was buried in Arlington Cemetary.

#7 Comment By Ronit On December 10, 2007 @ 2:54 pm

David… would it be too much to ask if you could post the complete eulogy by Professor Maxey? A scanned copy, maybe? Thanks.

#8 Comment By David On December 10, 2007 @ 3:07 pm

You can view the page with Maxey’s eulogy by right-clicking the image in the post and selecting “View image.” You can then click on the result to see a large picture, scanned in at high resolution. The entire passage is as follows:

My Home Is in the Valley Amid the Hills

Each morning I watch the sunlight drifting down through the pines, scattering the clouds from the mountain sides, driving the mists from the glens.

Each night I see the purple lights as they creep up the slopes of the Dome and the shadows as they fall on wood and stream.

My home is among young men — young men who dream dreams and see visions; young men who will carry my banner out into the world and make the world better because they have lived with me in my valley amid the hills.

Among my sons who have left me, some have caught the poet’s fire, and their words have touched men’s hearts and have bought cheer to a weary world.

Some have heard the call from distant lands, and have passed over the seas, out into the wilderness and into the desert, and have carried with them into the darkness the light of a True Faith.

Some have learned to see clearly into the nature of things, and have become leaders and kindly guides among those who think only of the daily toil and the weight of worldly cares; and they have taught men to catch a gleam of the light, and to hear the harmonies of humanity.

And some, in answer to the call of country, have gone out to battle for the common rights of men against the enemy. Some of them will not return to me, for they have given all they had, and now they rest at the foot of a simple cross or lie deep below the waves. But even as they passed, the music of the chimes was in their ears and before their eyes were visions of the quiet walks beneath the elms

Whether apart in solitude or pressing along the crowded highways, all these who have breathed my spirit and touched my hand have played their parts for the better, for

I am ALMA MATER:
I am WILLIAMS.

Note that the picture at the top is not dissimilar from the one at the top of EphBlog, although it seems to have been taken from a more western location. Can anyone tell the exact spot?

#9 Comment By PTC On December 10, 2007 @ 3:14 pm

Dave- Great post David. Losing people we know and love is never easy, especially when they are young and full of life. There is honor in what American military men and women do. It is proper that we honor them in such a way.

One thing does come to mind.

All things Military are not crimson and gold. For every song a soldier sings of things divine and idealized, there are several that he sings that are jaded and full of the foul mouthed irony that is a part of his reality. Neither type of song is untrue. There is a paradox in what is done during war. May we never romanticize war to an extent that we forget that.

#10 Comment By PTC On December 10, 2007 @ 3:16 pm

…. is that reason you included the clip from Full Metal Jacket?

#11 Comment By FROSH mom On December 10, 2007 @ 3:24 pm

JQP:

Life can be very wierd…

My father was in the 82nd Airborne. I don’t have as many details as you, but a family member claims it was attached to 101st.

#12 Comment By frank uible On December 10, 2007 @ 4:07 pm

Neither Mauldin nor Pyle idealized war. That is why they were so beloved by the “dog faces”.

#13 Comment By Ken Thomas ’93 On December 10, 2007 @ 4:09 pm

I’m not sure this a good place to attach this, but given the title of “silence,” I’ll hazard an attempt.

A year ago, I was waiting for a flight to de Gaulle in the “business services” area of one of American’s international gates in Dallas.

I believe seven died that day, according to the piped version of FOX that announced the events to us. Business services is far enough from the main gates to be relatively quiet, and everyone in the airport in Dallas, at least, seems to pause for that section of the announcement.

The young woman on the display ended with “and one soldier, unidentified at this point, in Al-Anbar province, on the ninth.” I had paused, waiting, somewhere in the middle of the announcement, David’s posting in my mind…

By the end I was standing, and I guess my voice is known to carry, though I had thought I had entoned quietly, to myself, “Nathan M. Krissoff, First Lieutenant, United States Marine Corps.”

I shall never forget the men and women who looked up into my eyes at that moment, nor the silence that seemed to fall on that section of the concourse.

#14 Comment By Ronit On December 10, 2007 @ 6:22 pm

Thank you very much, David. I think I’ll be keeping a printed copy of that on my wall.

#15 Comment By JQP On December 10, 2007 @ 6:41 pm

My father was in the 82nd Airborne. I don’t have as many details as you, but a family member claims it was attached to 101st.
Posted by: FROSH mom at December 10, 2007 03:24 PM

I learned some more of the details about my Dad’s military assignments when he passed in ’05. The Veterans Administration provides some benefits including a footstone and the American flag with a note from the commander in chief for a deceased veteran if you can produce their military discharge documents. Every part of the country has a VA contact that can do the research and provide you with the official details of your dad’s military assignments; where he was inducted, took basic training, what units he was assigned to, where they were deployed, where and when they were redeployed, and the disposition of his discharge.

Both the 82nd and 101st are elite “airborne infantry” divisions, AKA paratrooper divisions. The 82nd is known as the All-American Division, and the 101st the Screaming Eagles. There names are depicted on their official insignia worn as a should patch in the uniform.

Paratroop Infantry Regiments (PIRs) are attached to divisions. The 504th PIR was attached to the 82nd Airborne Division. So was the 505th. Prior to the invasion of Normandy, the 507th and 508th were attached to the 82nd. Some of the attachments change as the Generals reorganized their forces.

The 501st PIR was attached to the 101st from May 1, 1944 to May 9, 1945; the 502nd was attached to the 101st; the 506th was attached September 15, 1943 through March 1,1945.

“E” Company aka Easy Company of the 101st has become wildly known as the Band of Brothers due to Stephen Ambrose’s book and Spielberg and Hanks 10-part television World War II miniseries of the same name.

… It was co-produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks after their successful collaboration on the Academy Award winning WWII film, Saving Private Ryan. The miniseries first aired in 2001 on HBO and still runs frequently on different TV networks around the world. The miniseries centers on the experiences of Company E (“Easy Company”) of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, U.S. 101st Airborne Division and one of its officers, Richard Winters (played by Damian Lewis), from Easy’s basic training at Toccoa, Georgia, through the American airborne landings in Normandy, Operation Market Garden, the Battle of Bastogne and on to the end of the war.

I did some reading after my dad died to learn about his deployments and what he may have experienced.

#16 Comment By FROSH mom On December 10, 2007 @ 8:22 pm

JQP:
Wow, what a wealth of information you have provided me. I am missing so much because of certain circumstances..

Right after reading David’s thread, I made some calls to family members and also went on line. I learned that he actually got 2 purple hearts. Another family member mentioned The Band Of Brothers connection which I had no idea was his division when I saw those productions. Then I went online to see if I could find him listed somewhere, with no luck. So I registered with the National WWII Memorial site to see if I could get him listed.

My dad would have been a couple of years older than yours. He also passed away at 82 in 2003. Towards the end of his life he talked more about all of it, actually expressing a desire to connect up with the few of his comrades that were still around. I wish I could have helped make that happen. But, maybe I can do a few things for him now.

David, if you read this, thanks again….so much.

And JQP, thanks for all the great leads.

#17 Comment By FROSH mom On December 10, 2007 @ 10:55 pm

JQP:

Bastonage…in the Battle of the Bulge? Does this mean anything to you?

#18 Comment By Ken Thomas ’93 On December 11, 2007 @ 2:11 am

FROSHmom: If one may, one suspects you may refer to Bastogne, in the Luxembourg region of what is still referred to as Belgium.

#19 Comment By frank uible On December 11, 2007 @ 5:40 am

As in “The Battered Bastards of Bastogne”. For artistic flavor see the 1949
Academy Award winning movie, “Battleground”.

#20 Comment By JQP On December 11, 2007 @ 5:41 am

FrMom – It’s in the Ambrose’s book and many other books about WWII. The last German offensive of the war – which we call the Battle of the Bulge – was over the Ardennes Mountains in Belgium. The Germans intended to advance to the coast and split the Allied forces and capture a key port that was a critical supply line. Bastogne is a city in Belgium that was important during the battle because it was at cross roads – the holding of which would either permit or inhibit the German advance.

The 101st had been redeployed to Reims in France when they got the word of the German offensive. They left their billets in France immediately and drove all night to Bastogne, passing thousands of retreating American soldiers, who had been shot up badly, along the way. The Germans had amassed a huge force with heavy armor and they had rolled over everything in their way.

The 101st arrived in Bastogne and dug in. The Germans pounded them with artillery day after day and advanced on their lines. It was the worst winter in 50 years and the 101st had left Reims without winter gear. The 101st was completely surrounded. Because the skies were overcast, the planes were grounded and the troops were running out of food and ammunition. After days of fighting the German commander sent his lieutenant to ask the American commander if he would choose to surrender and save his men’s lives rather than die. The American commander responded “Nuts!” for which there is no good German translation, except perhaps “tell him to go fuck himself.” The cloud cover lifted and an airdrop provided the supplies they needed.

Patton’s 3rd armored division traveled an ungodly distance in a very short period of time bringing heavy artillery to push back the Germans. The 101st held in Bastogne and put an end to the German’s last offensive.

When Patton’s 3rd armored division proudly claimed they had saved American forces in surrounded in Bastogne, the men in the 101st said “Who says we needing saving?”

#21 Comment By JQP On December 11, 2007 @ 5:44 am

Of course we forget, a lot of men died.

#22 Comment By FROSH mom On December 11, 2007 @ 7:53 am

Gentlemen:

Thanks one and all.

It was Bastogne, of course, and I was wondering if perhaps your father had been there, JQP?

Mine was. I found a photo of him in his uniform which I had never really studied. There were the stripes, the insignia…and a face so young that it is heartbreaking to imagine him in those conditions. It may seem wierd to you that I don’t know more about this. Let’s just say, that I am very grateful to be piecing together the specifics of it now.

You know, I have wondered why I was so drawn into EphBlog… But I have learned not to question those things. And here I am, with all of this….

#23 Comment By JQP On December 11, 2007 @ 12:15 pm

No not the Bulge.

Just after the Germans surrendered but before they all acted accordingly dad was standing guard along a road near the Elbe River.

They heard these huge Panzer tanks rumbling through the thick woods towards them, which was a big problem because they had no heavy armor or anti-tank weapons.

The tanks emerged from the wood, turned up the road towards them and stopped at their feet. A colonel emerged from the tank and surrendered by giving the nazi flag and his sidearm to my dad.

#24 Comment By FROSH mom On December 11, 2007 @ 12:37 pm

Gives me chills….it’s like a scene out of a movie.

I’ve been surfing the internet and reading all about it. From the looks of his insignia, I believe my father was with the 17th, the Talon paratroopers…nicknamed “Thunder From Heaven”. It seems the 17th joined up with and/or relieved the 82nd and then linked to the 101st.

I am waiting for more info from a sibling who is living out of the country to find out more.

And these soldiers in Iraq are just as young and under such duress. It is so hard to bear…and I’m not even the parent of one of them.

#25 Comment By & On December 12, 2007 @ 9:10 am

It can be such a small world. My father was in Belgium, and my father-in-law came in with Patton. They lived on, one into his 50s and the other into his 80s. I wish Nate Krissoff had had that opportunity.

As I read of Nate and Emily and Katie and other very young Ephs we’ve lost recently, I am overwhelmed by how rich and full their lives were, even so drastically shortened. May they rest peacefully and may their lights continue to shine forth through those they have inspired.

#26 Comment By Dick Swart On October 14, 2008 @ 12:59 pm

David,

This is far and away the best thing you have written!