Very little of this was ever talked about by the time I was old enough to ask questions and remember things, but my grandfather Dave was close by when a friend and fellow paratrooper was killed in France. Uncle Baxter's ship was torpedoed and sunk in the South Pacific. I seem to remember him saying something once about the sharks circling the survivors who clung to wreckage and improvised rafts. There are many such tales from that time. And Uncle Jack, the oldest of the three, while he never ever talked about his wartime experiences, slept forever after with a loaded, holstered pistol on the nightstand next to his side of the bed that he shared with Aunt Mollie.
Although the three brothers managed to return home to North Carolina in 1945 and '46, and went on to lead productive lives -- as a corporate executive based in New York City a furniture salesman in North Carolina, and a high school principal in Phoenix, Arizona respectively -- each had also, clearly, been forever marked by his experiences. A sobering thought that we might do well to consider as we pause to remember our surviving and deceased veterans today.