Peter J. Dahlberg
World War II was raging, and we were pressing more deeply into enemy territory. As an infantry replacement, I had been assigned a partner who carried a 12-pound Browning automatic rifle. I was to help carry his ammunition and my own M1 rife and gear. Soon my new partner and I became close friends.
Our 78th Infantry Division was assigned to capture a dam. It controlled a large area that would be devastated by floods should the enemy demolish it.
Early one morning we were on a wooded hillside. A strange quietness prevailed as dawn broke. Our first assignment was to dig a foxhole. The ground was hard and rocky, so the digging was slow.
“I’ll spell you off for a while,” my partner offered. I willingly changed place. He sat down in the exact position where I had been and began to dig.
I turned and walked up the hillside some 50 feet, when, without warning, an exploding shell shattered the morning stillness. After a few moments all was quiet again. I called to my friend—who still sat with his shovel in his hands. There was no response, so I hurried to his side. He was dead. A large piece of shrapnel had pierced his steel helmet, and he had been killed instantly.
He took my place. His life was gone; mine was spared. I can never forget my friend—he died for me.
Remembering my friend, I think of an even greater sacrifice. His death has given me the opportunity to escape eternal death. It took place on a hill called Calvary. There another young man died, not on a foreign field, but on a cruel cross in His homeland. Jesus died so I might live forever. I have assurance of eternal life, because I received Jesus Christ into my heart by faith and accepted His free gift of salvation. Will you trust Him today?