Dad has been gone 12 years now, and I still not one day goes by I don't think about him.
For years after he had passed, the surviving guys from his unit (only 8 of 60 had survived WW2) found out and sent letters with their memories to my mom. Dad had what you would call a "trick thumb" and I never knew why. Here's the story-
It was D+1 and the vehicles that had come ashore were badly damaged by salt water. My dad and another soldier had gotten an order to clean up the vehicles and get them moving. As the guy tells it, all of a sudden he hears a sound like a train coming down the tracks, which was strange for the French countryside. With that my dad grabs him and yanks him off the tank onto the ground which was a good 10 feet below.
The sound was the machine gun of a M109 German fighter plane that was strafing them. The sound was deafening, like a series of sledge hammers slamming into metal. The guy said he was crying; terrified he would never make it home alive. He wrote how my dad comforted him and calmed him down. Then he says, "What happended to your thumb"? Dad's left thumb was dislocated onto his wrist when the guy fell on top of him diving off the tank. He snapped it back and that was that.
That was just one of many stories. I'll post the next one on Vet's day.