The six-inch blade drove slowly into the side of White’s neck. “Tell me, pitivul American. Vhere are shzure fleets!? Vhere did shzu come from?!” growled the German.
“Never… I would rather die…” wheezed White. He saw the look of pure hatred and evil in the German’s eyes.
“Vite then, shzure time as come, my friend…” BANG!
Silence. The room was motionless. Not even a snore or mouse to be heard. Beams of light shone through the window, visible by the wandering dust. Americans lay asleep in their raggedy spring bunks. Daytime was near. A daytime that would become one of history’s most memorable events...
“Everybody UP!” yelled Lt. Daniel. “Big day ahead of us, and it ain’t gonna fight itself!” 15 American soldiers sprung their heads forward and stood in front of their bunks like machines. Lt. Daniel prowled the hall, looking deep into each person. Eventually, he arrived at Private White. The clunk of his heavy boots stopped, and his shoulders shifted to face him. His hair was out of control, and he was still rubbing his eyes. “Private! Do you have any clue what today is?!” shouted Lt. Daniel. A hefty vein in the side of his forehead started to bulge.
“Yes, sir!” White gulped. “Today… W- we are striking at Omaha Beach!”
“Wrong! Give me 20!” Lt. Daniel shouted. “Today men, we are winning at Omaha Beach!”
“Yes, sir!” replied the troops.
“Alright, then. Everybody get into uniform in 15 minutes - no later! Do you understand!?” demanded Lt. Daniel.
“Yes, sir!” replied the troops. Immediately, soldiers hustled to their bunks to fetch their uniforms and helmets. White lifted his head back up from his push-ups to see Private Sean glaring down at him.
“You’re gonna die out there,” said Sean, savagely kneeing White in the head as he strolled by. White scrambled to his bunk to get into uniform. He took deep breaths each time he put on a new piece of clothing. While doing so, he sat on the side of his bed and thought to himself, Am I gonna die? Am I not good enough to be a true American? Will I make anyone proud? Or am I a stain on my family tree? I’m just the cracked egg of this platoon, aren’t I? These thoughts swirled around his mind.
White slipped on his final combat boot with a thud. It had begun. Lt. Daniel called all troops to the Higgins Boats to get ready for one “hell of a ride”. Cautiously, he stepped onto the boat. Mud and dirt squeaked across the metal floor. He crouched down against the hollow, cold floor and waited for the rest of the troops to fill the boat. Other platoons were also boarding their ships with uneasy looks on their faces. All of the sudden, there was a coughing sputter of a motor and they were off and sailing.
Hours passed. Many troops looked pale and uneasy. White was in his own universe of thought. He gazed into the mesmerizing ripple of the waves. What If they know we’re coming? What if they have weapons no man has seen, or even bombs? He couldn’t take it. He felt like he was on an infuriatingly slow ride to the gates of hell. He leaned over the side of the boat and puked. No soldier questioned him or even bothered to move. Like White, they were in their own world, trying to get answers to their problems.
Eventually, White heard the soft shots of gunfire. He wondered if a platoon saw an enemy plane flying overhead. He scanned the waters only to find out they were near the shoreline. On the shoreline, there were gunshots and explosions. Impossible. This was supposed to be a surprise attack. His breath quickened, and his heart felt as if it were in his throat. The troops gave each other terrified looks.
The boat drew near to the shore of what White knew would be his last breath. “Go! Go! Go! It’s battle time, ladies!” Lt. Daniel shouted. White gulped and ran to the nearest cover which was a divot in the side of the shore. Many wounded troops lay there, receiving aid from the medics. He tried not to think about the screams and cracks of pain around him. Whether it be grenades from the Germans or the crunch of dislocated joints, he tried to focus on the objective.
Suddenly, he heard a powerful crack and a scream of pain right beside him. Sean had been shot in the ankle. White would have usually had a second thought about saving him, but when he was on that battlefield, the first thing that came to his mind was help. Quickly, he unzipped a medkit resting by the boat and wrapped it around Sean’s ankle with haste. As soon as he finished that, he injected morphine into the wound to kill the pain. “You’re gonna be alright. Stay with me, soldier!” exclaimed White. Sean nodded with a sour look on his face and winced when he saw the gaping hole in his leg.
Bullets whizzed over White’s shoulders. One even nicked his helmet. Without a second to lose, he loaded his M1 Garand and peeked through an opening. A German who crouched in one of their “nests” was visible in his scope. His breath rattled, heart raced, and he pulled the trigger. BOOM! He had hit his target square in the chest. Blood burst out like a popped water balloon. Oh god! White said to himself. Now there was an enormous knot in his stomach.
White pushed forward on the battlefield. He flanked the nest where he shot the German. Quietly, he shifted his weight up at each step closer to the nest. He had reached the almost vertical cliff that separated him from the enemy. Back against the rocky wall, he took one last breath, turned around, gripped the pointed rocks, and pulled himself up with all his might. His eyes were wide as he came level with the nest. He could attempt to make the jump from the cliff into the nest. 3… 2… 1… NOW! With a gleam in his eye, his legs lunged with all his might and landed with a thud. His gun was held up to his nose, looking in all directions ready to shoot, but there was nobody. Whew! He rested his gun on the concrete table. He plopped his back down on the ground trying to catch his breath. His heart was so light it felt as if somebody pumped it with helium.
Fortunately, White had good positioning over the battlefield. Unfortunately, he was in an enemy base. This meant his troops could surely mistake him for a German. Hmmmmmmmf, he thought. Suddenly, an idea sprung into his head. He scrambled for his pocket which contained emergency flares, one of which meant a soldier was over here. Without a second thought, he lit a match and the flare. The flare shot into the sky like a bullet. When it burst, it created a magnificent cloud of red dust. Dust that felt like hope for White.
This hope ended instantaneously, however. There was a faint rustle outside the nest. White snatched his M1 Garand and held it at ready. Silence. He only waited for a few seconds, however, these seconds felt like hours. False alarm. He went back to spotting enemies from his table. Suddenly, ten grimy fingers wrapped around the roof of the nest and swung its body onto White, knocking him over. All he saw was a black figure swing into him in a blur. White fumbled for his pistol, but he was halted by a six-inch blade that plunged deep into the earth. The shadowy figure grabbed White by the neck and threw him against the wall. The blade was now level with his neck, pressing down harder by the second. The shadowy figure wielded a Swastika patch on his arm. White made gurgling sounds as he cried for help. “Szut up!” grumbled the German. Spit shot through his teeth as he panted. “Ve Vhere ready vor szure pointvess attack! Fuhrer vill strike!” the German cackled sinisterly. “So, my friend. Vhere are shzure fleets! Vhere are you going! Answer me, stupid American, or elze faze ze conzequenzes…”
“Never… Kill me instead…” choked White.
“I zhall give zu vun last chanse! Tell me!” exclaimed the German. The seconds between answering were excruciating.
“No…” whispered White. This sparked a look of pure hatred in the German’s eyes.
“Fine zen,” snarled the German. “Zure life az come to an end.” White closed his eyes, ready to embrace death like an old friend. BANG!... Shuddering, he opened one eye to see a silhouette of a limp soldier holding a smoking gun against the piercing light from outside.
“I got your message,” echoed the figure. White immediately recognized the voice.
“Sean?! How did you- Why did you-” stuttered White.
“Willpower,” echoed Sean. “For a man to whom I owe a huge apology and thanks. We gotta get outa here. More Germans will be on their way.” Quickly, he helped Sean hobble out of the nest. Rocks scraped and tore their uniforms, but that was the least of their worries. Right as they made contact with the damp, cushioning sand, a swarm of Americans came to help retrieve Sean. White decided to keep his gun up, spotting any Germans trying to attack. When they got back to the shoreline, they were safe.
White sprinted back into battle, firing at every nest he saw. While doing so, he was able to rescue over twenty wounded soldiers stranded in the sand. Each soldier was stunned to see the face dragging them to safety. Suddenly, White heard the soft sound of something rolling in the sand behind him. Flashbang! CRACK! His world became fuzzy like an unfocused camera. His wild, swirling, and swarming vision became slow. He felt vibrations run through his body. Breath shortening, darkness spreading, out…
White’s eyes opened, still hazy. Multiple soldiers crowded with bandages and shots. He could feel a warm goo run down his body and into his eyes. Red. He could only hear a loud ringing in his ears. They’re trying… to… save me. White tried to push himself up, but was immediately pushed down. “No no no!” yelled White, not even hearing his own voice. “I- I have done my part in this war… Save your time on others. I’m a lost cause. Let me go, go a hero… I demand you to…”
The last thing White saw that day on June 6, 1944, was the shocked look of faces from all of his troops. He died right there, on Omaha Beach, remembered as a hero.