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Up Hodge (2) Hodge (3) Hodge (4)
 
WHY WAS I SPARED?  (3 of 4)

Lindsey and I began our trip back over an open field leading to a house at an intersection that had been established as our main line of resistance. As we approached the house, we were both running pretty fast, and as we came around the corner, we saw the silhouette of soldiers lined up at a tall hedge running from the front corner of the house to a fence beside the road. We could not make out whether they were our troopers or Jerry's. I was on the road side and Lindsey was next to the building. We had gone too far to retreat to the corner when I heard a German accent say: "they are Americans". Something told me from within to hit the ground and play dead. I did. My helmet came off and rolled in front of me. My forehead was resting on my left arm that was crooked in front of me. As I was falling, I glanced to my left and saw what appeared to be sparks coming from Lindsey's chest. He always wore something like a leather vest. As I lay on that frozen ground, I could see the Germans in the doorway of the combination house and stable where we were. What happened next I did not understand, nor do I to this day know what cause me to do what I did. I saw this German take dead aim at my head with his rifle and pull the trigger. I could not move. Something within me kept telling me, don't move. When the bullet struck me, to the left of my nose, it came down knocking out 3 of my upper teeth, before going through my lower lip and opening a wide gash to the bottom of my chin. The impact partially knocked me unconscious. I lay there, waiting for the next bullet to blow my brains out. I was not a professing Christian at that time, but I recall making peace with God in that moment; and I believe had that second bullet come, I would be with Him even today. My whole life flashed before me within seconds. Yet, in obedience to that voice that told me not to move, I didn't. One of the Germans began calling his roll and each name drew a response with a "here". I then realized Germans were all around me. I was slowly freezing to death, worrying all the while the Jerry's would see the vapor coming from my breathing.

It is not possible to guess how long I lay there, but finally a German came out, grabbed my left arm to pull my body over against the house (where they had put Lindsey). When I rolled over on my back, my eyes must have been wide open and the wound on my face horrifying, because the sight cause the German to jump back as if he had seen a ghost. He grabbed my rifle, took it by the barrel and broke it against the ground. I was hoping it wouldn't go off and kill him because that would probably have sealed my fate. He helped me into the door of the house where a German officer was. Several Germans came in and, by their action, wanted to kill me. I do not understand German, but whatever he told them was sufficient to save my life, because no one else approached him. This officer took a large bandage and placed it over my mouth after sprinkling a powdery substance on the wound. After giving my name, rank, and serial number, I was then put in a separate room and told to sit down. The German officer had one of his men get me an overcoat off one of my dead comrades.
 

 

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