Midnight: We board the transport vessel. It is hurry up and wait… again. Everyone just keeps to themselves. I squeeze my way to a spot with a little light. I fumble with the pocket of my over stuffed uniform. There it is, the worn King James Bible that momma sent me. I pull it out and flip to Psalm 91. Each verse I read once; then look away and say it from memory. I read it maybe 100 times or more traveling across the Channel. And the hours pass, then…..
0600 Hours: It’s the loudest shriek and blast that I have ever heard! Massive artillery fire opens up from the huge guns aboard ship.
"John dwelleth in the secret place of the most High and shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty."
0630 Hours: The order comes down, “Board in the landing craft!”
"John will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust."
0700 Hours: The landing craft hits the sea floor, the front gate comes down, and we flood into the salty, chilly water, with bullets whizzing by and slicing into the water.
"Surely He shall deliver John from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence."
0730 Hours: I cringe behind a tank obstacle while bullets ping off the rusting steel.
"He shall cover John with His feathers, and under His wings shalt he trust: His truth shall be his shield and buckler."
0800 Hours: We’re ordered up the hill and use hand grenades to neutralize that machine gun nest which is mowing down our buddies below.
"John shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;"
0930 Hours: The machine gun is silent, but there is still that looming concrete wall, a topped with deadly sharpshooters.
"Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday."
1100 Hours: The riflemen on the wall slowly fall away, but far too many of my comrades are meeting the same fate.
"A thousand shall fall at John’s side, and ten thousand at his right hand; but it shall not come nigh to him."
1200 Hours: We scale the wall and find the abandoned Hauptmann’s bunker with the smashed portrait of Fuhrer Hitler.
"Only with his eyes shalt John behold and see the reward of the wicked."
1230 Hours: We hold up just beyond the beach in a crater hole. Sarge is getting the count of MIAs, WIAs and KIAs.
"Because John hast made the LORD, which is his refuge, even the most High, his habitation;"
1300 Hours: Sarge shouts to me, “Private, take this report to the Colonel! 53 dead, 69 wounded, 107 present for duty.”
"There shall no evil befall John, neither shall any plague come nigh his dwelling."
1330 Hours: I break out my rations for a quick bite before the order to move out…Boom! Mortar fire plunges in from the southeast. “Move now; eat later!”
"For He shall give His angels charge over John, to keep him in all his ways."
1400 Hours: We’re held up in an apple orchard. I grab one off a low hanging branch. It’s sweet, juicy, good!
"They shall bear John up in their hands, lest he dash his foot against a stone."
1500 Hours: “Minefield!” Sarge orders me across first.
"John shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt he trample under feet."
1600 Hours: Sniper got Jones in the thigh. He’s wailing in agony. “Jonesy, the Lord loves you and is there for you. ‘Father in Heaven, please take care of Private Jones.’” He’s calm now. “Move out!”
"Because John hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My Name."
2100 Hours: Sarge directs me to get some shut eye. Now, where did I put it last night? There it is! It’s wet from sea water, sweat, and a little blood, but it’s still with me, my little King James Bible. “Thank you Jesus.”
"John shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him."
Midnight: “Private, on your feet! You got guard duty.”
"The Lord says, 'With long life will I satisfy John, and shew him My salvation.'”
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