Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Through my Kitchen Window

Veterans Day and Thanksgiving
Harriet Michael's photo. 
Today is Veteran’s Day. As I reflect on veterans who gave so much so that others, like me, can live in peace, I realize how much I have to be thankful for. 

Thanksgiving is just two weeks away and I will travel to my parents, who by God’s grace are still living, and celebrate Thanksgiving with them. The picture on today’s blog is of my father, a former Marine.

Veterans Day and Thanksgiving thoughts have me remembering a true story that I once heard.

My husband has a close friend from Germany. In high school he spent six months living with this German family as an exchange student and then their son spent a year living with my husband’s family. Shortly after we were married, my husband and I visited his German family. Sitting around one night, I heard his German Vati (father) tell this story.

This man served in the German army in WWII. He was just 19 and did not understand all that his country and its wicked leader were doing. He was drafted, so he served.

Towards the end of the war, in the middle of winter, he was captured by the Americans. Tired, hungry, and cold, he had not eaten in days, his coat was threadbare and his boots so worn, his sockless toes were exposed.

He saw a fellow soldier cross an open field so he tried it. But American soldiers quickly surrounded him pointing their guns at his head. He dropped to the ground. I don’t think he even had a weapon but if he did, it had no ammo. At any rate, he knelt in the snow, expecting to be shot in the head, where their guns were aimed. But he was not shot.

Instead the soldiers told him to come with them to a nearby POW camp. “Oh,” he thought, “they will torture me before they kill me.”

Upon arrival at the camp, hidden in a wooded area, my friend’s father fully expected to be tortured and dreaded the ordeal that was about to unfold.

“Sit down,” the Americans said, as they pointed to a log near a camp fire. He sat, fearing what would happen next.

At least the fire felt warm. It was the first warmth he had experienced in weeks.
As he waited, a US soldier brought him a bowl of hot stew and a spoon. Then shortly, they gave him new boots and a new coat.

As my friend’s father told us this story, his face lit up in a smile and mine teared up. My husband’s German father said, smiling, "They did not torture me. They gave me shelter, warm clothes and food. If I had known this is what it would be like to be captured by the Americans, I would have surrendered much earlier.” And he added, “I’m so thankful I was not captured by the Russians. They would have killed me, for sure.”

Today, I am reminded how proud I am to be an American and how thankful I am for this nation and all the men and women who sacrificed so much for her!


  1. Thanks for sharing this beautiful story!

    1. Thank you for reading it! It's a treasured memory.