Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Dunstan the Blacksmith vs the Devil

Never Forgotten: A small token of gratitude for America's heroes

US Army
By Sgt. Jessica Villwok
January 2, 2019
To this day, it is still a blacksmith tradition to ring one's anvil three times at the end of the day to drive the Devil out until the next morning, or, if the Devil sees a horseshoe, he turns and runs away from it, remembering all the pain and torture they had caused him. That is the reason a horseshoe is supposed to bring you good luck, Randy said.

Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Randy Dack, a blacksmith at Grand Island Stuhr Museum in Nebraska, has made more than 4,000 "lucky" horseshoes for military service members worldwide. Dack made his first "Soldier's shoe" for his son prior to his first deployment in 2002 with the Nebraska Army National Guard's 1-134th Cavalry. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Jessica Villwok)
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. - Randy Dack still remembers every detail from that fateful day. What he was doing. Where he was standing. Where the messenger stood when he came to tell him the news.

For Randy, the blacksmith at Grand Island Stuhr Museum in Nebraska, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 are forever burned into memory.

"Ralph Gill came down to the shop and he said, 'They just hit the World Trade Center,'" Randy said. As terrible as the attacks were, Randy admits that his most immediate thoughts went to his son who had recently joined the Nebraska Army National Guard.

"Adam had been in boot camp about two weeks on that day," Randy said. "I just knew they were gonna take him out of the National Guard and put him in the regular Army and he wouldn't be coming home." Adam did make it back home to Nebraska from basic training, but he didn't stay there for long.

Shortly after his return in 2002, Adam, who now serves as a sergeant first class in Hastings' Troop A, 1-134th Cavalry - began preparing for a peacekeeping mission to Bosnia-Herzegovina, a country still recovering from years of bloody civil war and ethnic cleansing.

After hearing the news that his son was heading overseas as part of a major mobilization of National Guard Soldiers, Randy, who began his career as a farrier, remembered the story of Dunstan the Blacksmith, the Devil and how a horseshoe came to be lucky.

In that story, a blacksmith named Dunstan was working in his shop one day when the Devil walked by and became intrigued by the sound of the pounding of the anvil. When the Devil realized the blacksmith was making horseshoes to protect the horse's hooves, he thought that as a cloven hoofed animal, he too, should have horseshoes to protect his feet.
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