Seventy-three years ago Donald Morrison saw images of his younger sister and brother flash before his eyes. He had been knocked out from a blast while fighting in World War II. His fellow soldiers believed he was dead and left him behind.
But Morrison was still alive, thanks to a carefully placed pocket Bible.
After Morrison graduated high school he wanted to join the Navy, but failed the physical test several times. His father advised him to “get off the farm,” and within six weeks of working at his new job working construction for the county he was drafted.
In August 1944, an 18-year-old Morrison was sworn into the Army.
After he was sworn into the Army, the teenager entered the standard 16-week training course; however, Morrison only attended 14 weeks because soldiers needed to be moved into Europe at a faster rate.
Morrison and his fiance moved from Wisconsin to Maryland and then on to Massachusetts where he was scheduled to set sail for Scotland.
According to KXAN, once the boat reached Scotland troops were shuttled to France and eventually Belgium, where Morrison was assigned to a machine gun squad with Company K, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.
Morrison trained for 14 weeks before being shipped off to fight in Europe.
Not long after Morrison arrived in Europe, he became ill.
“They took me in and the first thing I knew I was in the hospital and the next morning the doctor, he flipped the covers back and he says, ‘I’ll tell you what was the matter, you’ve got bad frostbite.'” Morrison told KXAN.
He also learned he had the mumps. Shortly after receiving his diagnosis doctors told him he was also suffering from scarlet fever. His initial two-week recovery time turned into a five-week stay in the hospital.
“In essence, I was lucky,” Morrison recalled. “There was five weeks I didn’t have to be on the front lines.”
After a five-week stay at a hospital, when he returned to war, Morrison and his fellow soldiers were attacked.
Not long after Morrison was allowed to return to the battlefield, he and his men were attacked near the Rhine River in Germany.
“That’s when that other one came in, the shrapnel went across my face and it hit here and knocked me out,” he said.
Morrison was knocked out from the blast and bleeding. The soldiers he was with witnessed the blast and saw Morrison lying unconscious and didn’t believe it was possible that he could have survived, so they continued on without him.
His fellow soldiers thought Morrison had died from the blast.
But Morrison wasn’t dead.
He dug deep and found all the strength he could muster and marched on in search of the rest of his squad. When he finally found them he told KXAN that everyone “looked like they were seeing a ghost.”
No one could believe that he survived, not even Morrison believed it, until he looked down at his left pocket. Inside the pocket was a bible, which he carried with him at all times.
Morrison’s Bible stopped the shrapnel from penetrating his skin.
He discovered that the flying shrapnel penetrated his coat and his Bible, but did not pierce his skin because it was stopped by the thick pages of the book.
“Had it not been there, there was nothing else stopping it, only bones,” Morrison said.
Morrison continued to fight for the Army and two years later, in April 1946, he was discharged as a corporal and returned to the United States.