In this Issue: November '17
Oct 27, 2017 08:30AM
By Jason Huddle
In December 1943, Private 1st Class James Price and his company – the 409th – took Selestadt, a small but important village in France. And they knew it wasn’t over because the town’s bridge served the Germans in transporting troops and munitions.
Late that night, while most of the company made an attempt to get some sleep, a German Panzer tank rolled toward the bridge. Knowing where the soldiers were, shells were sent into homes.
Price had been instructed not to sleep on the furniture by his superiors, wanting the men to stay as low as possible. The allure of a couch, however, was too good to pass up. In a flash, there were explosions all around him. In an ironic twist, a shell from the Panzer both took Price’s left leg, plus instantly sealed the wound with its heat.
Price and two other soldiers made their way to the house’s basement and played dead. When a young German found them, he assumed they were dead, but then saw one breathing. As he raised his weapon, Price looked him in the eye and said one simple word: ‘fruend,’ meaning friend in German. Without a word, the soldier lowered his weapon and left, not reporting what he had found.
Price and his comrades seized the opportunity to escape across a river to safety. On the riverbank, the soldier who had been critically injured died, but Price and others lived to tell the tale.
James Price was my grandfather. Men like him have given us the freedoms and liberties we enjoy – yes, even to kneel during the national anthem in protest. In my opinion, we as a country have become so self-involved about what we feel is wrong that we have forgotten that we still live in the greatest country on the planet. We have become like complacent, spoiled children who expect everyone around us to bend to our wishes instead of doing things that effect real change.
The men who fought and died to give us the freedoms to be as we are deserve our respect and admiration and that’s why this edition of Cabarrus Magazine is for them. I wonder, if men like James Price had knelt instead of stood and fought, would we be speaking German instead of English today? Just a thought.
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