My favorite Memorial day story from my Grandfather who fought in WW II

My Grandfather Jacobs spent much of his life as a dairy farmer in Indiana. He was as rough hewed as one might expect given his less then tender upbringing. The man had a work ethic like no one I’ve ever met or known since. My Uncles (His Sons) tell me that his work ethic was even more intense when they were growing up then when I knew him and when I was around he was still working 16 hour days.

Grandpa Jacobs won a bronze star in Europe for disobeying orders while with the Big Red One. He was ordered to wait for ground support before moving forward. Instead, he cleared an obstacle from the road and continued to push on. I suspect there was more to the story then that but like most war vets he tended towards understatement when it came to these kinds of war stories.

However, the story I want to tell from Grandpa Jacobs was about another episode of his disobeying orders. He did not earn any medals for what I am about to tell. However, he may have slept better at night because he disobeyed these orders.

This story was told to me on Lake Michigan sometime in the late 8o’s or early 90’s. We were all on my Step-Father’s large fishing boat and were fishing. This is a story about the nobility of a man in disobeying orders.

My Grandfather was in WW II fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. As some of you know the Germans were at this point in the war so short on man power they had taken for soldiers those men who had seen too many winters or alternately too few winters. The German ranks were bolstered by the too young and the too old.

My Grandfather’s company captured some of these men (boys) in the midst of battle. He was ordered by somebody in the Chain of command to “take them out back and shoot them.” I can imagine that this was a fairly common order and in the heat of a intense battle such a order, from a certain perspective, is understandable. One can easily imagine that there was not enough man power to assign men the task of watching and keeping prisoners.

As he told the story Grandpa Jacobs told us that he told the officer who gave the command that, “I have boys not much younger than this age at home. I can’t do that.”

And he didn’t.

I don’t know what happen to those boys. He probably didn’t either. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if others were found to obey the order. There is a reason that someone once said, “War is Hell.”

But the fact that he disobeyed that order is the proudest live story I am somehow connected with from WW II.

And it also reminds me that War is such a terrible terrible reality that it should be pursued only as the last possible option and only in the context of Christian Just War Theory.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

One thought on “My favorite Memorial day story from my Grandfather who fought in WW II”

  1. Thank you, Bret, for this lyrical lesson.

    My late father-in-law (now THERE was a self-made man) served under General G.S. Patton in the Battle of the Bulge, a chapter of his long and colorful life about which he was both proud and pensive.

    I used to sit on his front porch with him in the cool Texas mornings, sipping coffee made in his beloved French press(which I inherited from him and in which I make my coffee every morning now)and talking quietly about horses and men.

    One day I asked him, “Did you ever witness any atrocities, committed by either side, during the war?”

    He sat quiet and still for a long beat, watching his Arabian stud Copper crop grass in the shady corner nearest the house, and then glanced at me, his eyes molten.

    “By both sides. Some Americans ain’t like the movies make us all out to be.”

    And he never said another word on the subject as far as I knew.

    Your homily brought back the power and the poignancy and the discomfort of that moment. And I appreciate that; thank you again, brother.

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