Thursday, January 04, 2007

Calvin Wyatt

62 years ago, My uncle, Calvin Wyatt, was scratching his way across Omaha beach. As far as I can determin, he was not in the first wave- I believe he was in the 116th Infantry, from what information I was able to gather. Probably why he survived the war. He didn’t talk much about it. He talked instead about his fears, saw the homes and farms of the people of france and thought about his home and farm. Thought about how easy it would be for us to be attacked on our own soil. Thought about the horrors of war.
Calvin dragged his rifle and pack, wet and nasty, across that beach, up those hills. Waded through a tide of blood. Bodies and body parts. Omaha beach was a meat grinder, and he saw it with his own eyes.
Calvin was 20 when he hit the beach. Wiry and tough. A kid, who had his whole world ahead. Less than a year earlier he had stepped out of the county where he was born for the first time. Now,he’s setting foot on the european continent for the first time, bullets whizzing, mortars going off. He survived. He made it through.
There were other fights, no doubt. There were other moments of fear, but I imagine none sho harsh as that moment on Omaha beach when he jumped out of that Higgins boat.
In Normandy, in a foxhole, on his 21st birthday, October 19, he caught mortar shrapnel in his right arm, which shredded him. And put him out of the action, once and for all.
Medicine in wartime france wasn’t much to speak of. They managed to put some of the pieces together. He lost the elbow permanently, and never bent that arm again, it ended up at a permanent slight angle. And it caused him some pain for the rest of his life.Here he is in the front yard of a rented home with his eldest child Ben. Handsome devil, ain’t he?Calvin saw things I hope I never see. He gave the use of his arm for his country. He suffered in silence all his life, until he died, at age 76, in 1999. He and my father were very close, and when I think of either of them, I think of both of them. Wherever they are now, I’m sure they’re as inseperable as they were then.
God Bless and keep Calvin Wyatt in the hollow of his mighty hand. God smite all those who would cast aspersions on his service, his honor, his love for his family and friends. And Dad, buy Calvin a beer today on me.