Thursday, November 11, 2004

Quotation of the day for November 11, 2004

Seeking protection from a salvo of screaming rockets, I had
flung myself through the doorway of a ruined stone hut -- to
find it already occupied by a grey-clad German paratrooper.

He was sitting on the floor, his left hand clasping a shattered
stump where his right arm had been severed just below the elbow.
Dark gore was grouting between his fingers and spreading in a
black pool about his outthrust legs. Most dreadful was a great
gash in his side from which protruded a glistening dark mass
that must have been his liver.

Above this wreckage, his eyes on mine were large and luminous.
When he spoke, the sound was barely louder than a whisper.

"Vasser ... Please giff ... vasser."

I had no water. My water bottle was full of issue rum, which I
knew would have been the death of him.

I shook my head and then I thought, "Oh, hell, he's going
anyway. What harm?" I held the water bottle to his lips and he
swallowed in spasmodic gulps until I took it from him and drank
deeply myself.

So, the two of us got drunk together and, in a little
while, he died.

- writer Farley Mowat, recalling his service as an infantry
lieutenant with the Canadian Army in Italy during the Second
World War.

[qotd commemorates Remembrance Day. -eds.]

Submitted by: Terry Labach
Nov. 11, 2004