That night, I took time to thank God for seeing me through that day of days and prayed I would make it through D plus 1. And if, somehow, I managed to get home again, I promised God and myself that I would find a quiet piece of land someplace and spend the rest of my life in peace.
It don’t matter where we go. Once we get into combat, they only person you can trust is yourself and the fella next to you.
I’ve already seen the States, I grew up there. That’s why I came to Europe, just wish they told me there was a war on.
Do you know why no one remembers your name? It’s because no one wants to remember your name. There’s too many Smiths, DiMattos and O’Keefes and O’Briens, who show up here, replacing Toccoa men that you dumb replacements got killed in the first place! And they’re all like you! They’re all p*** and vinegar. “Where’re the Krauts at? Let me at ’em! When do I get to jump into Berlin?” Two days later, there they are with their blood and guts hanging out and they’re screaming for a medic, begging for their god**** mother. Dumb f***s don’t even know they’re dead yet. Hey, you listening to me? Do you understand this is the best part of the f*****g war I’ve seen? I’ve got hot chow, hot showers, warm bed. Germany is almost as good as being home. I even got to wipe my ass with real toilet paper today. So, quit asking about when you’re gonna see some action, will you?! And stop with the f*****g love songs!
We’re all scared. You hid in that ditch because you think there’s still hope. But Blithe, the only hope you have is to accept the fact that you’re already dead. And the sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll be able to function as a soldier is supposed to function. Without mercy, without compassion, without remorse. All war depends upon it.
Men, it’s been a long war, it’s been a tough war. You’ve fought bravely, proudly for your country. You’re a special group. You’ve found in one another a bond that exists only in combat, among brothers. You’ve shared foxholes, held each other in dire moments. You’ve seen death and suffered together. I’m proud to have served with each and every one of you. You all deserve long and happy lives in peace.[translating a German general’s speech]
In war, soldiers sometimes die in the fever pitch of a fire fight, or by artillery when they’re huddled in a foxhole. Bill Kiehn, a Toccoa man, was killed because he was carrying a sack of potatoes from one building into another.