Saturday, June 2, 2012

Goodness Gracious Gordon Blasius

Our second day in Munich was spent in the historic downtown areas of the city. On our way to the city center, our group paused at several historic Nazi buildings. These structures were left standing purposly to remind the world of the harsh times the Third Reich put the world through. We witnessed the first hand accounts of Veteran Chan Rogers as he spoke of the last time he had marched with his unit down the same streets in which we walked today. His memories and documetation allowed not only the students, but also the Veterans to recall a Munich much different than today. Our tour guides located the exact intersection Rogers' unit was stationed for 6 weeks while waiting for the occupation army to secure Munich. Rogers was thankful as he retold his story of the taking of Munich. He described it as a peaceful advance where not a shot was fired, allowing much of the city to remain intact. We were fortunate to see much of the beautiful architecture from pre-war times mixed with newer structures of modern day Munich. As a group we met in the City Square and watched the Glockenspeil chime and dance above the city hall. Soon after, the group was given free time in which many chose to explore and shop in downtown Munich.
This gave us the chance to spend more time with our Veteran Gordon Blasius. Gordon was in the 11th Armored Division, part of Patton's Third Army. Throughout the war, Gordon rose to the rank of Staff Sargent in charge of a platoon of fifteen men. He is very proud that none of his men were killed during his time as Commander. The 11th Armored Division is credited with participating in the liberation of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Linz, Austria which, will be visited later on in the tour.

As Mr. Blasius tells us, he sees himself as an ordinary guy with ordinary talents. Late in the war, his unit was assigned to guard a town near where the American and Russian troops met. During their time there, Gordon witnessed several accounts of Russian soldiers and, as he described, their disrespect for human life. Along with this, Gordon saw many of his fellow soldiers injured and killed in battle. It was experiences like this that led Gordon to greatly appreciate the value of human life. For these reasons, he felt called to attend seminary and become a pastor when he returned to the United States. Now a healty and kind hearted 87 year old Veteran, he enjoys a life of retirement in Cleveland Ohio. Mr. Blasius is still active in the church he helped start more than fifty years ago. We are thankful to be on this tour and share many memorable moments with Gordon and the rest of our honored guests.

Tara Paczowski, sophmore
Ryan Meeks, senior

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