In Honor of My Uncle Clay for Veteran’s Day
My uncle Clay was a wonderful man. I used to spend time at his farm every Summer and I always enjoyed being around him.
I had no idea that he had been a POW in World War II until one day, when I was about 15, he gave me a diary to read.
The diary was kept from the time he was captured until the date he was liberated from Stalag IVB Mulburg.
On December 16, 1944 the Battle of the Bulge began. Early on in the fierce battle, my uncle, Calyborn Seaman was knocked unconscious by a German soldier and taken prisoner.
My uncle never actually spoke about his war experiences, but I asked him about being captured and he could never figure out why he was knocked out and captured instead of just being shot. His only answer was that God was watching out for him.
All the details of the diary are lost to me since I was only about 15 when I read it.
I do know that the Germans took his brand new boots and he wore rags for shoes. They subsisted on a very thin soup made of potato peelings and they marched a lot. He did mention that if they had found him keeping a diary (which was forbidden) he probably would have been shot as a spy.
An interesting side note to the story is that the day after my uncle was captured, another prisoner was brought into the camp. The man, at the time unknown, turned out to be Kurt Vonnegut. He was later transferred to another camp where he was inspired to write 'Slaughterhouse Five.'
My uncle was liberated about 6 months after his capture.
I think of my uncle from time to time. He's been gone for several decades, but especially on Veteran's Day, he's on my mind. He never tried to impress us with tales of heroism he just led a good life and included all his family in everything he did.
He was a great role model and I'll always miss him.
I hope you know a veteran. If you do, call them and thank them as soon as you can. Where on earth would we be without them?