by Jack W. Mills
We went through the Town of St. Lo and it was totally destroyed. There was only one house that I seen that was still standing. It was a pretty good sized little town but I had no idea how many people had lived there.
We went through Paris and I climbed up on one of the legs of the Eiffel Tower and also seen the Arc de Triomphe and the Sacre' Coeur (Sacred Hearts Church) and brought home some models of them but I don't know where they went, I don't have them now.
France never impressed me much nor did the people. They shake hands every time that they meet even if its only a few minutes later. They had urinals built right into the walls out on the streets, no screen work around them or anything, I have seen men standing there using them and another guy come along and they would shake hands and he would continue his business, shake hands and go on their way and in the night clubs and the equivalent to our beer joints, the rest rooms had no doors, but they were marked which is which but no doors. You could see them stop and use them about any time.
We were assigned to patrol the Port of Antwerp and I got to see some of the town. There was a statue called, "Manikin Piz" in the town and had a story with it about a little boy that had got lost. He was the son of the mayor or some ruler or something. He had people out hunting for the little boy and said that he would build a statue when he was found and in the same manner and position he was in when found. Hence the name.
Antwerp was the goal of the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge, but they never got near to it. It was their last big operation and after it failed it was just a matter of time.
Two or three of us went in a barber shop one day and a boy named Gerkin was getting a shave and I made a crack about a rocket hitting and Gerkin's head rolled out the door. I hadn't much more than got the words out and sure enough just up the street aways one of those rocket bombs did hit and it shook the building that we were in but no bad damage was done where we were.
Those Rocket bombs, you couldn't see or hear them coming and they just hit, exploded and you never knew when or where the next one would hit. They were just a terror tactic. If you heard them you were alright.
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Document Last Modified: Saturday, 01-Nov-1997 18:27:39 UTC