Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Price

" I don't know how long it took me to get to the bottom of that hill, to a point they couldn't see me. They had pinned us down early in the day, and it seemed like it took hours to get to the little swale where I could get upright enough to throw a grenade thirty feet. I didn't know how many men were up there. They had a machine gun, we knew that. It got quiet for a minute my squad was waiting for my order for covering fire and had their heads down so there was nothing for the machine gun crew to shoot at. So I grabbed a grenade, gave the sign, and all hell broke loose. I pulled the pin but there was no puff of smoke and I thought it was a dud. Then I remembered hearing about a new grenade that was quieter and didn't give off the puff of smoke that could give away where you were and what you were doing. Now usually you count to three before you throw so the bastards don't get a chance to throw it back at you. But it was too late for that and I had know idea how long I had been holding it. so I lobbed it up towards the ridge and it hung over their trench as it went off. Everyone in the trench got the full force and all the shrapnel. There was no more shooting from that position. I worked my way up and around with my Corporal, not taking any chances. Behind the machine gun were two Chinese gunners and farther down were two North Koreans next to a box full of ammo. The Grenade had killed them all. Now when you're shooting at a group or even someone in the open everyone's shooting. You don't know who killed who, and in the weeks after the Chinese joined the war there wasn't any time to think much about it, but I knew I had killed these men. I started to shake. The gunners had been torn up pretty bad but the Koreans were not. They looked like children. My Corporal went down and got the men together to move out. I joined up with them later, after I got my self back together. That Son, was the first time I knew for sure I had killed someone."
Memorial Day addition:
What I cannot express in this was how my Father's voice changed as he spoke. At first he was angry I had asked if he had killed someone in the war, I guess he had been asked the question before, but it ended as more of a confession. As painful as this admission was, it opened the door for other discussions to follow.

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