My grandfather was an ambulance driver in WWII. He was a conscientious objector, but that didn’t mean he didn’t want to serve, he just didn’t want to shoot anyone.
In 1945, he spent his birthday — June 6 — picking up the dead and wounded on Normandy Beach. He never really talked about his time in the war, except to say that if the Germans caught an ambulance driver with a gun, they shot the driver immediately; and that he’d been a Private “several times.”
Granddad, Dad, and I, along with several sailors from my Dad’s shop, took one of those salmon fishing excursions that took us beyond the Golden Gate Bridge. On the way back from a great day’s fishing, the guys running the boat were gutting the fish and tossing them to the hovering seagulls. In my mind’s eye, I can still see Granddad standing on the back of that boat, standing ram-rod straight, with his hands clasped behind him, staring in the opposite direction.
He never went to any of the D-Day reunions. He said he didn’t see the point.
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