is the tale of a weapon, a rifle to be specific, but not just any rifle...a genuine
fragment of history. I have a fervent infatuation with history which burns deep
within my soul, particularly World War II, European Theater history. At this writing
I am 32 years old and my generation, and even that of my parents, has unfortunately
forgotten what our grandfathers did for us during that grand endeavor. I believe
Hitler's Third Reich was the greatest threat to freedom in the history of mankind.
former Soviet Union with its nuclear arsenal, and even more corrupt, socialist
agenda may seem a more menacing adversary, but they were destined to failure from
the start. They never really had a chance at surviving; it was just a matter of
them running their course, and the people realizing how wrong they truly were.
Nazism was much different. With a few very slight changes in history,we could
all be wearing swastikas on our uniforms right now.
that had been the case, nothing we now have would be the same.
often think of the men who saved the world during the World War II, and am very
grateful for them. The tears, sweat, and blood those brave heroes sacrificed is
not something tangible, it is not something we can touch or taste or see, and
therefore is easily forgotten by us who did not live through it. However, there
are certain perceptible objects and places still left that one can behold if he
or she so desires. Walking the beaches of Normandy, one can still imagine the
blood washing up on the shores, and can feel the ghosts from D-Day. The words
of the great men still ring true in their writings, or when those still with us
recite stories of battle. We can visit museums and lay our hands on a Sherman
tank that hunted Rommels Panzers across the deserts of North Africa, or one of
the B-17 Flying Fortresses that kept the Nazi leaders deep in their underground
bunkers in Berlin. When you touch these objects, you acquire a precious tactile
connection with those courageous Americans from way back then.
of those tangible items I'm speaking of that epitomizes what those valiant fellows
did for us is the glorious M1 Garand rifle. After a lifetime of desperately wanting
one, I finally procured one for myself. This is the rifle most soldiers carried
throughout the European campaign, and it really is something extraordinary for
it is one of the primary tools that eradicated the plague of Nazism from the face
of the earth. It is chambered for the superb 30.06 cartridge, and is clip-fed
from the top.
rifle is incredible! It was built during a time when they made things to last.
This masterpiece was built before my father was born, and will serve my son well
in battling future enemies of freedom and democracy if they should so challenge.
It's walnut stock beckons you to caress it, and its action is as smooth as if
it were made of silk. This isn't just a rifle to lock up in the cabinet and bring
out a few times a year to hunt with, this is a genuine treasure that deserves
a place on the wall, and a gentle pat of gratitude each night before going to
fondle this weapon so much I had to give it a girls name!
all this passion I speak of is simply the technical details of it. I havent even
began with the history of it.
would give a month's salary to know where this rifle has been, and to know the
men who carried it into battle. I often sit in the chair and drift back in time,
and ponder what this particular weapon could have been through. I dream of how
it may have endured the sand and heat at the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia. This rifle
may have fought its way up through Sicily and Italy, or maybe across that English
Channel and through those French hedgerows in the summer of 1944. It may have
frozen in the Ardennes Forest during the Battle of the Bulge, or maybe even witnessed
General Patton urinate in Germany's Rhine River as he crossed it, showing the
Hunn, (as he called them) what he thought of their natural border.
I stroke it, I feel the dents in the stock and wonder what caused them. Was it
concertina wire somewhere on the Siegfried Line, or was it a tank-trap at Omaha
Beach? I wonder if an American GI fell dead over it, or if it spilled Nazi blood.
give to know its history!