Cpl. Sanders letter, Henderson Co. TX

Athens Weekly Review
June 28, 1945

Cpl. Sanders Died In a "Blaze of Glory,"
Says Buddy Who Was There
A story of battlefield heroism and of the death of a
man who repaid his nation in full for the twenty-six
years of freedom and protection it gave him under the
Stars and Stripes, is told by a buddy of Cpl. Millard
"Hoss" Sanders of Athens in a letter to the girl the
latter had planned to marry.

Cpl. Sanders son of Mr. & Mrs. A. W. Sanders, gave his
life for his country "in a blaze of glory" last April
1, Easter Sunday, and never, perhaps, was a more beautiful
tribute paid a fighting man than that paid by the buddy,
Herman Shugard. The letter was written to Miss Vivian
McGregor of Dallas, the soldier's sweetheart.

"I don't suppose you know who I am," Shugard said, writing
from France, "although Hoss may have mentioned me in his
letters. My name is Herman Shugard, his tank driver.
Anyway, just before it happened we both made an agreement
to write each other's folks in case anything happened. So
I am writing.

"I hope you will pardon the writing. I am in the hospital
here and am still a little shaky. I left part of my thumb
back in Germany and lost quite a bit of blood. I would have
written before, but I just couldn't make it.

"Louis got a letter from a girl, I can't remember her name,
and said you had heard about it and wanted someone to tell
you how it happened. So here I am.

"It started when we crossed the Rhine. We kept driving all
the time, day and night. It happened April 1, Easter
Sunday. We had made a drive up the super-highway that night
for thirty-one miles. We pulled in a position around
3 o'clock in the morning. At dawn, the Krauts made a
counterattack. We were in a pocket and we didn't have very
much stuff in there. We couldn't turn our guns around
because we were shooting a problem for the doughboys right
ahead of us. He went out with a bunch of us to try and stop
them. Right here, I want to say that he was one of the
bravest men I have ever seen. He walked in standing up
straight, shooting, so that I could get in close enough to
use my tommy gun and a couple of grenades. He saved many
men's lives that day.

"They got him. But I promise you they paid for it dearly.
I just wish I had the words so that I could really tell you
hat it was like. He went down in a blaze of glory. But he
will always live in our hearts. He saved my life and the
lives of many others that day. He was the best liked man in
the outfit, Vivian. Everyone liked him. He had hat a man
has to have up there. There can be no greater tribute from
his own guys than to say, "He has guts." And he had them.

"There are a few words out of the Bible-I think they are out
of the Bible, but I don't know for sure because I never read
it much. Those words kept going through my mind long
afterwards. I managed to say them when I brought him back
to the tank. It is what's known as the "full measure of
devotion." "Greater love hath no man, that he lays down his
live for his friends."

"I am not ashamed to admit that I cried like a baby, and it
still brings tears to think about it. I have seen hundreds
of men killed, but nothing ever affected me that much.

"He never knew what hit him. So don't worry about that.
There was a smile on his lips and I know he is up there
looking down now. God bless him. He loved you truly,
Vivian, as I know you loved him. He wouldn't want you to be
unhappy. I know that he will be with you always.

"I had some personal things of his that I would like to give
his folks, but they are in my tank and I am here in France
in a hospital. If I get back there, I'll bring them with
me. If not, I'll come alone. I promised him I would see you
and his folks and tell you both all about it. I don't know
when I'll get home, but whenever I do, I'll see you folks
first. I really wish I could say what is in my heart, but
the words just won't come out.

"Goodnight and God bless you."

Cpl. Sanders, who entered the service on March 8, 1942, had
been overseas for thirty-one months, and was last attached
to the Second Armored Division. He saw action in North
Africa, Sicily, and Italy and went into Normandy on D-Day.
He was killed somewhere in Germany and was buried in Holland.

The soldier was on the front all the time with a spearhead
group, which was not assigned to any particular unit, and
fought under every army and every commander in the European
Theater of Operations. He traveled 1500 miles against
enemy resistance.

Cpl. Sanders was born on April 19, 1919, in Murchison, and
came to Athens in 1927. He as a graduate of Athens High
School.


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