Iowa soldier saved from a bullet by Bible in WWII diesUPDATED 2:24 AM HST Nov 12, 2013Video Transcript
Veterans have been the guests of honor at ceremonies across central Iowa today. This one at Veterans Memorial Convention Center downtown. The message - honoring sacrifice. And every Iowan who's served our country has sacrificed in one way or another. But Eric Hanson has the story of one veteran who was also saved-- new at 6. John Phillips' story from World War 2's Battle of the Bulge is remarkable to hear. Especially this Veterans Day. BEFORE LEAVING FOR WORLD WAR 2, MOST BOYS GOT A GIFT FROM THE PRESIDENT. A NEW TESTAMENT TO GET THEM THROUGH. It was bitterly cold, there was snow up to our knees and our hips. JOHN PHILLIPS TURNED TO THE ONE IN HIS SHIRT POCKET SEVERAL TIMES DURING THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE. Suddenly we had walked into a German ambush. They were behind us. They were around us. They were in the trees. THE 22 YEAR OLD IOWAN WAS SHOT FIVE TIMES. THREE BULLETS HIT HIS STOMACH, ONE RIPPED HIS ARM. AND THE FIFTH? The fifth bullet was lodged in the Bible, and that probably was the one that saved my life that day. JOHN'S WIFE HAS ALWAYS CONSIDERED WHAT HAPPENED A MIRACLE-- And the fact that he lived through it. AND THE PIERCED HOLY BOOK, SUPER- SACRED SINCE IT KEPT HER HUSBAND ALIVE. It does. It will be forever. BUT ESPECIALLY THIS VETERANS DAY. BECAUSE LAST THURSDAY, 68 YEARS AFTER THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE, JOHN PHILLIPS DIED. John was such a, he was so patriotic. LIKE SO MANY OTHER AGING VETERANS, JOHN STARTED FINDING COMFORT IN RECENT YEARS, SHARING HIS STORY. AND LIKE SO MANY IOWANS, HIS WIDOW FINDS IT HARD TO FIND WORDS FOR HER GRATITUDE. NOT JUST FOR HER HERO'S SERVICE, BUT FOR ALL WHO'VE FOUGHT. I just respect them. For what they are willing to perhaps sacrifice or go through. They do not know what is coming. Ever. It used to be true that a thousand World War 2 veterans were dying across America every day. As of 2011, we were down to 670 dying every day - because there are simply fewer of the aging heroes around each year.