Image by tislas from Pixabay

War is a horrible thing. Especially since war can be avoided if humans could just get our act together. Some incredible movies have been produced documenting the spoils and times of battle, particularly for WWII. But no piece of art can compare to hearing tales from survivors themselves. The men and women of WWII have a lot to tell us, if they feel capable of sharing.

Redditor u/liamnotleum wanted to hear some real life stories about our heroes of the past by asking.... Who had grandparents fight in WW2 and what stories did they share?

In the theatre....

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Grandfather was in an amphibious division in the Pacific Theatre. He left us with little snippets of his time.

A camp was pitch black because they didn't want to be visible from above. A guy in his cabin went to the outhouse and sat down to do his business when he heard something. He pulled his lighter out and lit it. A python was dangling down staring him in the face.

He and another man were walking on a beach and the other guy just got shot through the head from a sniper. That sniper's decision led to my existence.

General MacArthur showed up and gave him a promotion along with a few others. They took a video of MacArthur shaking the hands of a line of soldiers and used it for a pro-American propaganda film to be played before movies in the US. My grandma saw it and freaked tf out and the theatre owners gave her a copy of the photo.

lazyandfickle

Passing the butt....

My grandpa was in the army. He never spoke about his service but he was shot in the ankle and captured. He spent years in a VA hospital once he returned to the states. I heard second hand stories about the pow camp. Specifically how the guards would smoke cigarettes and then intentionally flick the butts just out of reach of the prisoners inside the fence.

He and his buddies devised a tool to reach out through the fence and grab the butts when the guard turned their back. They'd then pass the butt between them to get a tiny puff. He was a very kind very quiet very intelligent man who had a very bad drinking problem.

askew88

Sober Up

My grandfather was a train medic (not front line but where they took immediate survivors). The Germans were known so sabotage train bridges and it was standard protocol to stop and inspect them before crossing. Well, his conductor was drunk and not only didn't stop but was speeding into the bridge when it exploded. My aunt has the pictures but let's just say the rubble he was found under (wooden trains don't just derail - they shatter, especially off a bridge) was crazy! He described it to me and I wanted to cry, he lost many friends.

commentstalker84

Nightmares....

My grandfather was in the resistance in Holland. He never spoke about the war to his wife, children or grandchildren. If asked to relate stories he'd reply, "I will not be responsible for the nightmares of another", would turn his hearing aid off, and nap in his chair.

Igloomum

Confessions....

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I think Grandpa saw some craziness because he never talked about it, and we later found out that he was lying when he said he never saw action.

CheckOutUserNamesLad

B-17

Both my grandfathers served in the US Army Air Force. One was a waist gunner on a B-17. He caught some shrapnel from a German AA gun one mission and almost bled out on the return trip. While he was in the hospital his plane was shot down.

The other was an MP who would tell us about busting heads in bars.

NamelessAnus

Battle of the Bulge....

I think my grandad landed 2 or 3 days after D-day and he never talked to me about it until a few months before his death. He recalled arriving on the beach and having to cross over the bodies of the fallen soldiers. It deeply affected him.

Having him share just a few stories with me before he died this year felt like such an honor, as he never shared much with anyone about this time.

Edit: for those curious, my grandad was a sergeant in the 554th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion. He also participated in the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded a bronze star for his service.

Thestigsgirlfriend

The Big Mess

My grandad was in WW2 in a tank destroyer unit, he NEVER talked about it but when I got back from a trip to Paris in high school he asked if it "was still all blowed up over there?" And said the last time he was there it was a "big old mess."

p3achbunny

That's funny your grandad asked if it's still a mess. My grandpa used to give my dad crap because my dad got sent to Germany in 69. When my grandpa was there everything was bombed to hell. He would say my pops had it made because the base had roofs by the time my dad got there.

bigredtruck97

In Canada....

Grandfather trained in Canada with British officers before flying to Britain. Went to Italy, was almost killed when his jeep drove off a cliff to avoid capture by Nazis. Was taken back to Britain to heal, looked up the family of an officer he knew. Officer's sister became my grandmother. 🇨🇦🇨🇦

Purpledoors3

Upon Return...

war hbo GIF by Game of Thrones Giphy

None at all. My grandpa went to Europe as a teenager and it must have been messed up because he never talked about his experience all the way up to his death. He came back with three medals and nobody in the family knows what he did to get them.

phlural

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They say one man's trash is another man's treasure - and sometimes that saying is pretty literal.

Lots of people build entire businesses picking up cool stuff on bulk-pickup trash day, and upcycling it into something even better that people are willing to pay for.

Sometimes, you might even end up with something pristine and usable right away.

Reddit user JampackedAlborn1976 asked:

What is the most valuable item that you have seen somebody throw away or have found in the garbage?

And for real ... some of these people scored BIG TIME. Like big time. Like really big.

Like Refrigerator Big

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"Our current refrigerator is a double-door one with exterior ice and water dispensers. We got it for free, with absolutely no problems whatsoever. It's just a few years old."

"How we got it? My dad (civil engineer) was doing some work on someone's apartment when they said they had bought a new modern French door refrigerator and that they were just going to discard their current refrigerator."

"My dad simply asked if he could have it.. and they said yes." - SauloJr

Immigrants In Action

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"I immigrated to the US from Brazil when I was 12. And every Saturday, my mom, stepdad, sister and I would go out at night to upper middle class neighborhoods the day before trash pickup to rummage through the garbage they were putting out."

"We found perfectly good TVs, VCRs, microwaves, couches, lazy boys, tables, books and comics, etc."

"I couldn't believe these Americans were throwing out like that. We furnished our entire house with that stuff. The entire Brazilian immigrant community in my town did it. We were flabbergasted." - PhillipLlerenas

With A Note

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"My wife yelled at me that someone put a big TV outside with a note on it. Walked across the street and it was a brand new Samsung 37 inch HDTV."

"They were actually renovating the apartment building and got an upgraded TV. Even had the remote taped to it with batteries, I guess I have really nice neighbors here in NYC." - MadLintElf

Life Hack!

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"If you want high end stuff out of the garbage for free, follow these steps:"

"Pick a city with a large university in it. If it's a school well known for its law programs, or medical, or engineering, all the better."

"Search for luxury apartment complexes that market themselves towards students. Look for things like included shuttle service, pools, fitness centers, etc. The more expensive and swanky the better."

"Figure out when finals week is at the end of Spring semester."

"Dumpster dive at those luxury apartment complexes during that week and the following weekend."

"Very wealthy international students will arrive in the US, fully outfit an apartment with nice furniture, big TVs, audio systems, gaming consoles, you name it, and when the semester ends they just junk it all because they aren't going to fly it back to wherever, and it's too much effort to spend the time selling when they do not care about the money."

"It's a smaller scale phenomenon a little like all the luxury cars abandoned at the airport in Dubai." - whattothewhonow

Literal Gold Treasure

valley of the boom david kim stanley GIF by National Geographic Channel Giphy

"I found a gold coin at goodwill for 5 bucks. It was in a case with someone's name and company name."

"It was their gift from the company for retiring. I assume the family threw it out when he died not knowing it was solid gold. It was in a in a thick solid plastic case that had to be cracked opened."

"It literally said 1 oz fine gold on it. I figured 5 bucks was worth the risk it not being real."

"It was a South African KRUGERRAND 1 oz coin. Everyone was just too busy to read it lol."

"Bought it and took it too a pawn shop and sold it for a couple grand." - streetmitch

The Best Day Of My Life

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"When I was a kid, I grew up right outside the Los Angeles area in the suburbs. My stepdad was a garbage truck driver for the city of Beverly Hills."

"I swear in the late 80s and early 90s we'd have so much basically brand new stuff (still in boxes) brought home on a regular basis."

"I'll never forget one day in particular. My stepdad came home and was like 'get ready, come to the car, I'll need your help.' So I go down there and in back seat of his car he had a few large black garbage bags."

"We haul them up to our apartment and he's like 'go ahead, open them.' Inside was what I could only describe as an 80s kids trove of treasures."

"One bag contained just about every Ghostbusters and GI joe toy you can imagine, they were played with but had every little accessory, there was a bunch the playsets and everything."

"In the other bag was pretty much every LEGO of the early 80s sets, still in their original boxes. I was a big LEGO nerd but was totally thrown off by the old school space ones because they looked nothing like the 90s space sets. I think they even said "NASA" the minifig's chests."

"That was like a random day in July, it felt like Christmas. I was 9 years old and it was basically like the best day of my life up to that point." - Zombgief

Who Throws Away Money?

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"A jar full of quarters."

"Annual spring cleaning projects happen in a lot of towns where anyone can put almost anything on the curb and it's taken away for free. It's to stop open dumping or stuff being dumped in ditches."

"Sometimes people deal with estates from winter by just dumping all their grandfather's stuff on the curb for the cleanup to get the house empty immediately. Most often they don't even bother to look at what they are throwing away."

"In 2012 on north road in Akwesasne I found an estate pile that I shuttled back and forth with my bike trailer getting lots of older tools like a scythe, hammers, saws, screwdrivers and wrenches, a 22 rifle with 100 round of ammo, a bunch of ar15 magazines, cast iron cookware, oil lamps, a hand crank food mill with all kinds of accessories, a black raven axe head (worth $100 easily since they are a collectable), and a quart size mason jar full of change mostly quarters."

"That was spring and the sheriffs office did a gun buyback in the fall where I took the mags and got $20 each for them (30 round mags suddenly illegal under the safe act of fall 2012. The buyback was a local political move). I still got the 22 and picked off a lot of woodchuck with it in my gardens." - Bogtrotterso1980

Filing Fever

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"I own a small company which is located directly in front of a state funded program facility. The state decided to have this office shred all of their files as they were going to switch to electronic data (exclusively)."

"We found two of these old rotary filing cabinets outside of their office. They're worth almost $3k each!"

"They just placed them there and we saw them and asked what they planned on doing with them. They said, 'Hmmm.....either donate them or trash them.' The state told them simply to get rid of them."

"We jumped at this and took the two into our already tiny office because there was no way in hell that we were going to let these gems go. (We do use paper files, unfortunately)."

"They wanted to give us two smaller ones but seriously, our office is very small. I made some phone calls and they were picked up immediately by other office workers/friends." - GlitzBlitz

This Sucks - In A Good Way!

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"In the 1990s my moms work had a really nice high end Hoover that stopped working. They threw it out."

"My mom took it home because my dad tinkers and repairs things easily. Turns out since it was a bagged vacuum all the dummies had to do is REPLACE THE BAG."

"Like it never occurred to them to do the most easy and basic step. My parents were excited to have a really upgraded vacuum. Maybe like $500ish." - schweddyboobs

Tiffany's Trash

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"My dad found an old stained glass window laying out by someone's trash. He thought it would look cool hanging in our cabin, so he stopped and grabbed it."

"It sat in our garage for a few years before he looked at it more closely and found "Tiffany and Co." branding on it. He got in touch with some stained glass window dude who figured it was worth about $40k fully restored, so my dad sold it to him for somewhere around $30k." - throwaway_stopdrink

Have you had any awesomely trashtastic treasures? Let us know!