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The Church at Veho France
by Robert Uhl, Company K, 114th Infantry Regiment

church sarreguemines 1944 1945"It was in late October 1944 or early November as Co. K moved through the rain to the town of Veho. France.  As we approached the little town we came into heavy machine gun and mortar and artillery fire. Our advance was held up as we could tell that the Germans had perfect coverage of our advance from the tower of the little church on the edge of town. The record will show we had several casualties with one killed. (As always that number also had a name to go along with it. namely Arthur Eisenhower, a rifleman from the first platoon whose home was Middletown. Pennsylvania. Although Arthur was no close relationship with the General--the newspapers made note and Mother recognized his name from the Co. K listing I had sent when we got the Combat Infantry Award. It is hard to keep secrets.)

We called for artillery from our support units to knock out the steeple of the church. The trajectory of a 105mm howitzer hit the church okay but the tower remained untouched. To get the steeple it was necessary to bring up a tank destroyer with its 90mm high velocity shell which was able to destroy the slim structure and destroy the German's vantage point. We then could advance on into the town. It seemed a shame to destroy that beautiful church. But it certainly wasn't worth the life of another American to save it. As we entered the town our column of infantrymen did the usual thing and checked out the buildings along the way to be sure there weren't any hidden snipers etc. It was my job to check out the damaged church and to be sure the Germans who were there were blown out of the way and were gone. As I entered the rubble of the damaged building I could see the spent shells of the machine gun that had been shooting at us from the tower. Further into the roofless structure. I could see it was once a beautiful ornately decorated chapel. On the right side near the front of the altar there still stood an ornate crucifix showing Christ hanging on the cross. But now the war's shelling had dislodged a picture that once hung on the crumpled wall above the crucifix and now had fallen: the chain that held the picture now hung around Christ's neck as he suffered on the cross. As if Christ didn't suffer enough--now the war had placed another heavy burden on him.

long tom 155mm artillery or 'arty' overhaulI had to move on through the rubble of the church and on to the next building and be sure it was secure as we advanced. The memory of that little chapel and the burden and sorrow that war was causing Christ went with me. There were to be many more months of struggle death and destruction before this war would end. Hopefully this little church has been rebuilt and now boasts a new roof and perhaps the steeple now greets visitors as they approach the village without the machine guns that once menaced our approach along that little road. Surely the picture has been lifted back to its place and Christ no longer has the added burden on him as a result of this terrible destructive war."

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