Everyone is here thanks to their ancestors

I was only present a couple times when he actually opened up about WWII. He had a really hard time talking about his experiences, which is pretty common for war vets. He saw shit and did shit that he hated. He was awarded a silver star and several different purple stars, not for some incredible feat of soldiering prowess, but because his position was bombarded by German artillery non-stop for like a week straight and he was one of the only US troops to survive in the area. He saw a lot of his friends killed. He did talk about how there'd be new troops in his unit that would get shipped over the from England (to western Europe, after D-day) and he'd befriend them and bond with them, then he'd see them die in horrific ways days later. He actually had a nickname in his unit. They called him "windy", because he seemed like the wind, that nobody could catch him no matter how close the Germans got to him. He had loads of close calls with death, to the point that it was ridiculous. Bullets striking walls mere inches from his face, mortars landing in the ground next to him that didn't explode, people stepping on mines right next to where he had just stepped seconds earlier etc...

My grandpa was extremely sensitive about the war because he felt guilty. He had very close and profound relationships with fellow soldiers that he witnessed dying and he wondered why he survived and they didn't.

He was a sniper, by the way. There were times when he was given an M1 Garand, but he was usually equipped with a 1903 Springfield with a scope. When he was about age 75, a couple years before he died, he told my older brother about a mission he was on when he shot several German soldiers. So many that he couldn't keep track. It was toward the end of the war when literally the majority of German forces still defending Germany were young boys and old men. My grandpa shot a bunch of German troops that were literally kids. He said he remembered faces. Decades after the war, he had an incredibly detailed memory of a kid he saw boiling water over a fire, right before he shot him.

When people asked my grandpa about his experiences in WWII, 9 times out of 10 he would go silent, become visibly upset, and walk out of the room.

War is not glorious, it's fucking terrible, even for the winners.

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