On The Shoulders Of Giants With Andrew Curtis

Andrew Curtis | February 16, 2024

Andrew Curtis’ grandfather earned a Purple Heart for services in WWII.

I am a patriot of the United States of America. I will never apologize for being one. I think the GON community will support me on this stance. It is one of the main ways I want to be remembered, followed by God and family.

But no matter how patriotic I am, I will never be the patriot that my grandfathers were. I have accepted that fact, but I am determined to honor their legacies by remembering. Remembering their wartime sacrifices is a way that I can serve, too, since I have not served in a military uniform.

Every start of a new year, I reread the accounts of my dad’s dad, Capt. Douglas W. Curtis, who was commanding E Company in the 10th Infantry Regiment, 5th Division, under General Patton’s 3rd Army fighting the Nazis in Europe. I look out at a chilly February morning in the upper 30s here in south Georgia and think how miserable I would be if I had just spent a long night trying to sleep without a tent on the lawn. Well, my grandfather had just finished fighting in the Battle of the Bulge in temperatures under 0 degrees Fahrenheit… without a tent… as the enemy was trying to kill him. He had been wounded by shrapnel all while trying to recover from a cold virus and laryngitis and yet still somehow managed to command his company in the frozen foxholes. All of this is documented in his letters.

“It’s no fun spending night after night in a hole with snow,” he wrote. Wow, what a massive understatement! I cannot even pretend to imagine.

His toughest mission was yet to come, though. On Feb. 7, 1945, Lt. Curtis (He was a first lieutenant at that point) was assigned the nearly impossible task of leading the entire 5th Division crossing of the icy, rapid Sauer River into the teeth of the German’s heavily defended Siegfried Line. His company was decimated by the German’s machine gun and artillery fire, and one of my grandfather’s heroic platoon commanders was killed in a self-sacrificing decision to take out the main machine gun nest. He gave his all and succeeded in eliminating the problematic enemy pillbox, posthumously earning the Distinguished Service Cross. And might I add, he was not ordered to do that; he volunteered. That was how 1st Lt. Harry B. Colburn helped buy the freedom that we cherish and abuse. And what for? So that Americans today can complain about all that’s wrong in this country? It is something to think about, and I certainly think about Lt. Colburn often. I promise I won’t forget.

Some people have asked why I write and talk about WWII so much. First of all, it is deeply personal since both of my grandfathers fought in it. (My other grandfather was a Navy combat pilot fighting Japan in the Pacific.) But secondly, have many people today thought about what would be of our great nation if the Axis powers had won the war? You think there would be a GON Community? You think we would be out hunting and fishing like we have the freedom to do? Let’s remember this.

Like the country singer Aaron Tippin said, “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.” I know what I stand for. I know what I will fight for. Remember, history loves to repeat itself, but we do have some control, believe it or not (at least in our lifetime); we just have to get out there and do something to protect what we love.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” (Edmund Burke).

So, don’t sit around. Everyone can do something to help. There are things worth standing for, and our hunting and fishing rights are certainly worth it. Just think for a minute of all the Harry Colburns who have died fighting for what we Americans have today. The thought makes me appreciate my life in this country a little bit more. And I appreciate a great group of people like the GON Community. After all, we are patriots.

God Bless America… And God Bless GON!

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