The Michael Lang Letters
Letter 6

Praised Be Jesus Christ

      I was still in service 1913 but we had been promised a release in November. Owing to the rumors of war and the accompanying fear and distrusts similar to that of today, we were ordered to remain where we were indefinitely. So we waited and prayed for the day when once again we would go home and rejoice with those near and dear to us after an absence of nearly 3 years.

      I arrived home on the 20th of March 1914, a holy day in our country and so met many of my dear friends and also my dear grandmother. Tears of joy dimmed the dear old eyes as she said, "My dear child I had thought I would never see you again”.

       This scene reminded me of the Bible story where the father killed the fatted calf for the prodigal's return. I was happy to be at home again still happier to work again for my dear ones. But all my joy was short lived In June 1914 we received orders and these were worse than the first ones when we were drafted that my brother Jacob and I must go to war against Germany. Of course the officers consoled us by saying it would be but a 3 months affair. Once again my dear brother and I bade farewell to our dear ones and our dear old grandmother with her holy water bottle in hand told us to kneel and receive the blessing in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost and father and stepmother and the rest according to rank did the same. My dear old grandmother "said, My dear children I will not see you again because I am so old but I will pray for you”. After that we rode to the appointed town and here my brother and I were separated. He was classed with the infantry and me with the artillery. It didn't take long before I was on the firing line and saw the canons blast1ng. I was on the reserve list for a while when suddenly my field marshal came to me and said, Lang you must go far in the fox holes there 1s an officer who has lost both legs and no one wants to go.

      So I mustered up all the courage I had and prayed. "In God's name may Thy Will Be Done". I felt confident that no bullets could strike me and the blasting of the canons reminded me or the proverb "Noth lernt beten" (German idiom) which cannot be translated as it is, but roughly means in times or need you learn to pray. Oh believe me I prayed many a time while I was in my fox hole. I could not look out for the 1ntensity of the bullets and shrapnel. Then I took recourse to my rosary and implored God and His Holy Mother to protect me. In this way I fought many battles on the German front and God be praised, I came out unscathed.

Greeting to my dear daughter Maria and Anna Lang and all the other Sisters at St Anthony's and May the dear Lord bless you all.  From Michael, Katharina Lang and family.

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