A soldier's story we shouldn't forget

August 31, 2005|by BOB MAGINNIS
(Page 2 of 2)

"There was artillery on the tank and the shell hit the great big tree on the opposite side of me and I was on a dead run until I came to my senses," he said.

"I go back to the trench and my foot started hurting and I took my boot off and there was a spot of blood on my sock. I won't tell you what I said," he said.

Leather didn't call for a medic, but a fellow soldier told him to go back to battalion aid.

"By the time I got back there, I was using the rifle as a crutch. I was figuring on getting patched up and going back to my unit, but that didn't happen," he said.

It was just a small piece of shrapnel, but it had entered the side of his foot and lodged in the middle of a batch of nerves and tendons, he said.


When he returned to the U.S., a doctor at Fort Meade poked around in an attempt to remove it, but couldn't.

"He advised me to live with it, if I could," Leather said.

Sometimes when the seasons change, it still hurts, Leather said.

Asked if he felt that it was worth going through what he did, Leather said that it was.

"Too many good people are still around that wouldn't have been otherwise," he said.

Leather is a charter member of the Disabled American Veterans, R.S. Tagg Jr. Chapter 14 of Hagerstown.

The chapter will hold its annual Forget-Me-Not fund drive, beginning this week. You can help by contributing to the drive at the following locations:

  • Friday, Sept. 2 and Saturday Sept. 3, at Wal-Mart on Garland Groh Boulevard in Hagerstown.

  • Friday, Sept. 9 and Saturday, Sept. 10 at Tractor Supply Company on Massey Boulevard in Hagerstown.

  • Friday, Sep. 16 and Saturday Sept. 17 at K-Mart on Massey Boulevard in Hagerstown.

  • Friday, Sept. 23 and Saturday, Sept. 24 at Penn Avenue Meats on Pennsylvania Avenue in Hagerstown.

Bob Maginnis is editorial page editor of The Herald-Mail newspapers.

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