My dad is one of the very few left that fought for our country in WWII. Dad has never spoken of experiences of the war.
One day my uncle called me. Have you seen "Saving Private Ryan?". I said no. He then went on to tell me that my dad was there and I needed to see it to see what he went through. Upon asking dad about it, he dismissed it by saying something like, You do what you have to do. He wasn't on Normandy until a few days later, but it still wasn't secured, thus all the bodies, blood and gore, and of course, fear for the lives of his comrades. He never worried so much about his own. I still haven't seen the movie, but I plan on it.
Here are a few stories I have since learned:
Once while eating breakfast, his platoon was hit. Many around him dropped dead. Dad was fine, at least physically.
Dad was literally in the trenches, deep, dirty, and muddy, body to body. He was on the front line many times. He still has the coat he took off a dead German officer.
Dad was holding a dying comrade in his arms. Dad could tell the injuries would be fatal. The soldier kept pleading with my dad, "Don't let me die. Please don't let me die." Dad gave him his one, I think morphine or whatever it was they gave for instant relief, to his fellow soldier. The soldier was out of pain. Dad's pain increased 10 fold.
Another time, dad rushed into enemy territory charging with his commander. They were surrounded by Germans. So close in fact, they could hear every word the enemy was speaking. They didn't realize that the rest of their company didn't follow them.
These are just a few of the stories I know. But my mom found a gold mine earlier this year, letters my dad had written home. They are priceless to me. They talk about how upon securing enemy territory, there was a man, not enemy now, who was wondering around broken spirited and starving. Dad gave him his K rations, all he had. Dad got quite a scolding from his commanding officer. Another time he sent a $5. bill home. He wanted to make sure that his dad pay his tithing with it. Another so eloquently written letter, spoke of the beautiful earth. He had come across some beautiful flowers, birds, and whatever else, I can't remember. He then spoke of the Creator of us all. He was so grateful that he was blessed to witness this beauty that could take him away, for just a short time, from all the pain and anguish and hellishness of war.
I am so grateful to all those that have fought and are fighting still, to keep our country free. I hope we all can somehow, in someway, show our gratitude and thanks.
I think I'll call my dad right now and tell him that I love him so.