Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Old Soldier Talks

On Saturday we had a family reunion in Danube. The descendants of the five Seehusen brothers who came to Minnesota from Germany met to tell stories and visit.

One of my aunts was “Gustie”; she had three sons who served in World War II. Gustie’s biggest worries were that her sons would be killed or that they would kill some of our relatives. We were told she prayed fervently and all three sons came home.

One of hers sons was Gust. He served in the infantry, spent 4 months in combat and was captured by the Germans. Gust never talked about his experience much, not until yesterday. Gust said he never talked about it and still has dreams about fighting Germans (he is 82) but now understands it’s important to talk. You see, Gust’s grandson lost an arm, part of his other hand, and suffered many shrapnel wounds as a result of his service in Iraq.

Gust doesn’t brag or pound his chest with trumped up bravado but his sharing was to the point and blunt. He was in a battle for 4-1/2 days for a town. He was one of six who survived out of 118. He was later given the Bronze Star for his efforts in this battle. As a P.O.W. he was insulted because of his very German heritage.

His 21st birthday took place during those 4 months but he didn’t realize it until he was getting his first shower and shave in a month. When he felt his face and realized he had a mustache, he decided not to shave it off and has that mustache to this day. That mustache serves as a reminder of God’s goodness and protection. Gust said, “God was with me all the way.” Words of a warrior, former P.O.W., husband, father, grandfather, farmer, policeman…grateful to be alive and free. Gust has a lot to teach us—I hope he keeps talking.

No comments: