GREENSBORO, N.C. — An 89-year-old war veteran is sharing his story of how a pocket Bible that he carried near his heart saved his life during WWII.
Greensboro News-Record reporter Jeri Rowe recently sat down with Doc Long, who will turn 90 on Wednesday, to hear his story. Long joined the Army at age 19, and was given a Bible from his Aunt May that had his named etched in gold on the front.
“Now, I want you to read it daily and carry it with you wherever you go in the pocket over your heart,” Long’s aunt said.
And he did, including on his darkest day—November 13, 1944.
On that day, Long was following France’s 2nd Armored Division into battle when a German bazooka fired in their path. The French and Germans exchanged fire, and suddenly, a bazooka shell hit the tank. Long felt a sting in his right arm and fell to the ground.
He lay on the ground and played dead as the battle raged around him. Another shell landed on the ground near Long, and the blast lifted him off the ground, moving him at least a foot.
Long waited for help, listening to the sound of other wounded soldiers crying out for medical care and for the grace of God. He lay still all night thinking and praying.
“God, have mercy,” he prayed.
Long also recalled the words of the 23rd Psalm: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
The next morning, a French soldier came to his aid. He was transported to receive medical care, where it was discovered that his right arm was now paralyzed.
Upon his release, Long’s belongings were returned. Amazingly, as he looked down at his Bible, which he had been wearing in his pocket, he noticed that it had been pierced by a piece of bazooka shrapnel. He realized that a miracle had occurred, that the Bible had stopped the shrapnel from being thrust into his heart.
“I think that is what saved my life,” Long stated. “It was the answer to my prayers. God had mercy on me. He did. He did.”
The WWII vet now tells his story with every opportunity he receives. He said that he began sharing his story following the September 11th attacks so that the world would never forget the price of freedom and how God saved his life that day.
“He had a purpose for me, and His purpose for me was to speak so the youth would know,” Long said.