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Snow saved a wounded Norman Callison in World War II - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Snow saved a wounded Norman Callison in World War II

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JEFFERSON, Tx. -

As we prepare to honor our veterans on Monday, meet one from World War II whose survival in combat was amazing and -- he says -- divine. Snowfall in Belgium helped save Norman Callison of Jefferson, Texas.

"21 men on a daytime patrol, which was basically a suicide mission," Callison recalls.

He says they'd only scouted at night and never engaged the enemy until they got their orders that day, January 13,19-45, during the Battle of the Bulge. They were spotted by German soldiers hiding in a building.

"I'd say about 300 yards a way, all hell broke loose," Callison says.

As he slid down a mountainside, Callison was shot in the hip. The bullet narrowly missing two grenades he carried in his pockets.

"It didn't hit 'em," Callison says. "If it had I wouldn't be sitting here talking."

But four members of his team were killed. Others were wounded as they retreated. Callison couldn't.

"I laid there til dark. I knew if I ever moved he'd keep shooting," Callison says.

He was badly wounded as the bullet came out of his chest. He says laying face down in the snow saved him.

"The snow congealed that blood. That's the reason I didn't bleed to death," he explained.

Callison crawled to the other side of the mountain.

"I was completely exhausted, I was freezing to death, I felt like my clothes were the only thing holding me inside then. And I said, well, I'm ready to die," Callison says, adding that a sense of calm came over him.

And that's when he spotted two American soldiers who were out checking communication lines. They got him to an aid station.

"Apparently, somebody was looking down," Callison says, a finger pointed upward to the heavens.

"I had prayed some and I cussed some. So I guess I prayed more than I cussed," he said with a hearty laugh.

Seven months and five major surgeries later he was back in the U.S., enjoying a glass of milk from the Red Cross, and knowing this:

"Freedom is not cheap," Callison says. "The price is terrible."

He sees some people look away when they see him in his veterans cap. So he'd like you to remember five simple words if you see a veteran:

"Thank you for your service," Callison says. "Just say those five simple words and they'll be eternally grateful."

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