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The weight of command

“Someone awakened me at three-thirty the next morning. It was cold in the room, and I shivered as I climbed from my sleeping bag. My mind was dulled with sleep, and I wanted to climb back into the warm sleeping bag and sleep on and on. I wanted to scream to hell with the war and go back to sleep. The sudden jolt of awakening was like emerging from a wonderful, peaceful world into a world of forbidding reality. There would be men hurt today, perhaps killed—men from my own company. It could be me. That seemed remote and impossible, but it did not remove my fear for the others. There were many responsibilities. Had I given the platoon leaders all the information they would need? How was my attack plan? Was there some important detail I had forgotten? Would Heimbach be defended? Would our attack be discovered as we crossed the flat, open field toward the town? Oh, God, if we could but rush from the house into the attack without thinking again. It was the waiting and the thinking and the wondering that got you.” – Charles B. MacDonald, Company Commander

Published inCharles B. MacDonaldThe Second World War

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