304th Regimental History (Foreword)
most stories, is made up of words and phrases and sentences slung together in such a way as to make it into a weak facsimile of something now past but which was a stirring and pulsating, at once a horrible and a beautiful, a grim and a tight-lipped reality. This is the story of men at war.
There are actually no words or phrases which can reproduce the real events. It is and was a story which could be truly written only once. The dramatis personnae have already done this. Their pen was an M-1. Their ink was a solution in equal parts of blood and sweat and unshed tears.
Were there no other purpose than the writing of it, this story would be a futile and an idle gesture. For there is no adequate description of stomach reactions to a screaming meemie or the weird beauty of a flight of machine-gun tracers in the pitch-blackness of a Luxembourg border night or of that infinite, breathless helplessness in the split seconds of a Jerry road-strafing. To know the truth of this one must have been part and parcel of the story itself.
However, in the making of this chronicle, there is another purpose which does lend rhyme and reason to the effort. It is evident, without further explanation, that there was, for every one, too much dependent--life or death, in fact--upon concentrated, alert and accurate performances at appointed times and places. Attention or interest could never, through curiosity, be permitted to waver very far under these conditions. The hope is that this story will serve as a link between what each man (from the Colonel down to the lowest "buck" private) saw or experienced and what the complete, overall regimental picture really was.
If, then, that one purpose is achieved the work will not have been fruitless. And so far as is humanly possible the aim will be to permit the panorama of the total action to unfold so that each man can be made fully aware and justly proud of all that his regiment accomplished.
It would also be more than idle to remind ourselves that there are some who will never read this chronicle as it is set down here. For these there is no need of words. Their chronicle is already indelibly engraved by the deeds which they. have taken with them into the peace of an eternity.
To these, to whom this story most justly of all belongs--since out of their blood our victory grew--a long, spontaneous salute from the hearts, the full hearts, of those whose comrades they were-and still are!
Inevitably, in works such as this and, particularly, where done and published with so little opportunity for the finding of true perspective, there are certain to be omissions and oversights both in the matter of name of individuals and in the description of incidents. The effort has sincerely been to include absolutely everyone and everything possible within the limitations of the two covers of a book. It is hoped that any and all readers will realize that all such discrepancies or exclusions have been the result purely of oversight or of lack of complete material and entirely unintentional. In any event, for such errors, an apology is herewith offered in globo.
There Were Rivers To Cross . . .
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