Sign of the Cross

Anzio Entrenchment. Credit: Life Magazine

My husband’s grandfather, Edward Corbett, was an army private for the U.S. 3rd Division. He was sent to Anzio in 1944.

A man of deep Catholic devotion, Edward learned his faith from his Boston-born mother and Irish-born father. This faith interceded saving the lives of his fellow servicemen.

One night during the Anzio campaign, Edward saw the sign of the cross in the evening fog. Seeing this gave Edward an assurance that would be unfailing. Less than a minute later, a grenade landed among his unit. Without hesitation, Edward covered the grenade with his helmet and laid his body over the helmet. The grenade exploded.

Hit with shrapnel, Edward was carried out and his time in the Army, over. The rest of his unit was unharmed.

Edward received metals for valor, went on to marry, have five children and, later in life, became a Franciscan. He was buried in his brown robe.

Edward told only one person about Anzio, his brother-in-law and a fellow WWII veteran, (Uncle) Blair. Blair related the story to Edward’s adult children after Edward’s death.

And now, I have related it to you.

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