“Good help is hard to come by!”… or so goes the saying. And whether you’re a consumer, an employer, or an employee, you’ve experienced the reality of this proverb in recent months, perhaps more than ever before. I’ve even noticed an extraordinary social media effort being made by one local restaurant group lately. They’re giving special honor to their service industry workers during this famine of “hard-to-come-by” help.
It seems to me that’s an appreciation effort well spent. And if it’s well spent in those who take orders and deliver plated meals, it’s not hard to see how well spent such an appreciation is on those who have devoted years of their livelihood, and in some instances life itself, to the protection and preservation of our own lives and liberties. Just such an appreciation effort was recently made for one of our own ELS members, First Lieutenant Norman Marozick of Holy Cross Lutheran Church – Madison, WI. In May of this past year, Lt. Marzick (104 years old) was inducted into the Madison VA’s Hall of Heroes.
As part of the ceremony, 1st Lt. Marozick’s son, Rev. Mark Marozick, read a speech written by Norman about his first day in combat shortly after the D-Day landings on Utah & Omaha beaches in Normandy. An excerpt of Lt. Marozick’s speech is printed here:
“In the 1930s, Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party grabbed power in Germany. He became dictator and built a powerful army and air force. He overran Western Europe, occupied France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Netherlands, and Norway, and bombed London every night. He had to be stopped!
When I graduated from Purdue in December of ’42 all of us who had taken all four years of ROTC Training at Purdue went home for Christmas. Then came right back to Lafayette, Indiana, and boarded a train for Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. After 12 weeks in Officer Candidate School, I was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the Field Artillery on April 15, 1943.
I was assigned to the 26th Infantry Division at Camp Garden, Georgia, for training. In August of ’43, I hustled to Lafayette, Indiana, and Marge and I were married. We “sort of” lived together for 4 ½ months. Then on New Year’s Eve, I boarded the Aquitania (British Ocean Liner) and didn’t see Marge again ‘til late 1945.
Then came 5 months of training while living in tents on the rolling hills near Cardiff, Wales. Each tent had a deluxe heating system – a pot-bellied stove in the center of the tent.
June 6th, 1944 brought D-Day landings in Utah and Omaha beaches in Normandy. I joined the 4th Infantry Division a few days later replacing an artillery officer who had a mental breakdown after just a few days as a forward observer in combat.
My first day in combat was a day I will never forget. I knew no one in the 4th Division. I had to get acquainted with the three enlisted men completing our team while closely following our attacking infantry company. One man carried the receiver/ transmitter on his back; one man carried the BA pack on his back; the third man had a direct artillery fire whenever and wherever the company commander needed artillery support.
So, we are walking along, and we hear shells coming in. We drop flat on the ground; shells explode around us. We pick ourselves up and I hear one of my men babbling away scared stiff. Shell fragments had ripped the musette bag off his back – only torn canvass remained. But none of us was hurt!
That evening, while digging my foxhole, I heard more shells coming in. I dropped into my partially dug hole. One shell landed between me and the next foxhole. Fortunately, my hole was dug deep enough for me to go unscathed. My carbine and canteen did not fare well. To make digging easier, I had removed my pistol belt and laid it (canteen attached) at the base of a tree and leaned my carbine against the tree. My carbine stock was shattered, my canteen multi-penetrated.
In my prayers that night, I thanked God for bringing me safely through my first day of combat. It had not taken long for God to show me that He was protecting me and that I need only to place my trust in Him to continue His protection. And he did, day after day.
May God give us an ever-increasing appreciation for the service industry of soldiers – those whose lives are used by God to defend, preserve, and protect.
-Pastor Kyle Madson