Original U.S. WWII Era “For God and our Country” New Testament Heart-Shield Breast Pocket Bible
Original Item: Only One Available. Now this is a lovely example of an item that is growing increasingly difficult to come across, the Heart-Shield bible. John Phillips, an American soldier, received a government-issue pocket Bible before he shipped off to Europe during World War II. On patrol, trudging through knee-deep snow during the Ardennes Offensive and the Battle of the Bulge, Phillips and his squad found themselves in the middle of an ambush. In a burst of gunfire he was shot five times. While laying in the snow he instinctively reached for his heart. What he found was his Bible — with a bullet lodged in it.
Phillips survived, most likely due to the Bible shielding his heart. Many American soldiers were issued Bibles. Some came with a metal cover like this one, often engraved with positive reminders and in this case it reads as “For God and our Country”. Because they were often carried in shirt pockets, they are known as “Heart Shield Bibles.” Inside the front cover of these Bibles was a note from President Franklin Roosevelt, but is not present in this one. For historical reference, the message read as “As Commander-in-Chief I take pleasure in commending the reading of the Bible … Throughout the centuries men of many faiths and diverse origins have found in the Sacred Book words of wisdom, counsel and inspiration.”
The Heart Shield Bibles were a durable edition made for the battlefield, and was the source of encouragement for many GIs. Even the metal-covered editions were unlikely to stop a bullet. But in an extraordinary case, like that of John Philips, this Bible made the difference between life and death.
This example is in wonderful condition and does show evidence of having been carried for many years. Unfortunately this example is not named but that does not take away from the beauty and historical significance. The bible measures approximately 4 ½” x 3” and is offered in wonderful condition.
Comes more than ready for display.
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