We live in the stories of our family that came before us.
Unfortunately, social media and a constant stream of digital records did not exist in the time of either of the Great Wars.
Can you imagine a selfie taken from the trenches or from storming the beaches of Normandy?
Just because we can't see it, though, doesn't mean we haven't heard the tales, been swept away in the stories, the details, of one of the most horrific and heroic times in our collective history.
Because some of our family were there, and they told us about it.
"Did anyone have stories from WW1 or WW2 passed down to them if so what’s the story?"
It's war, right?
Of course most of the stories are going to be tragic tales of loss and fear.
A True Hero
"One grandfather earned a Purple Heart during WWI because he went out out alone under heavy shelling to flag down an ambulance for his buddies. The physician who later treated him at the field hospital said his own leg was torn up so badly he shouldn't have been able to take 10 steps on it."
"Ultimately he didn't save any lives, though. And the ambulance got shelled too--killing the entire ambulance crew. He was the sole survivor."
"I can’t imagine being the sole survivor of all of my buddies, PLUS the dudes you were calling for help. Wow."
Too Young, Too Much To See
"My grandfather was in the US Navy in the Pacific during WW2. My mom would tell me about how when she was a kid he'd used to get really drunk and tell disturbing, graphically detailed stories about all the horrific sh-t he witnessed during the war. Stories about friends drowning or getting burned to death in raging fires, the terror caused by incoming kamikazes, etc."
"My mom was like, 8 or 9 years old at the time and being subjected to that understandably messed her up a bit. I never worked up the nerve to ask my grandfather about his experiences directly since it was obviously so traumatic for him. He eventually died due to complications from Parkinson's disease as well as being an alcoholic for decades."
"I sometimes wonder how different his life might have been if he hadn't enlisted as a fresh faced 17 year old. Given the timing, he might have been able to avoid getting drafted and stay out of the war entirely. Shoulda coulda woulda, I guess."
Stuff Stays With You Forever
"Completely different war, but my mom's father's father, so my great grandpa on my mother's side, was in WW1. Apparently, once a year or so he'd just sit in a rocking chair for several days on end falling apart and crying, wouldn't talk or move or eat, and my great-grandmother would just put a blanket on his lap and sigh and say he's thinking about the war and he'd be ok in a few days."
"This sh-t was so common ... Is still so common..... I'm glad it's less shameful and more people can get help these days."
Let's brighten things up past the typical doom and gloom.
What are some of the more outlandish stories from being in the war?
Out Before It Even Started
"My Grandpa's only WW2 story involves him arriving in France and proceeding to trip over a small hole in the ground and break his ankle on his first day there. It never healed right and he was sent back to the states. Walked with a cane for the rest of his life."
"Don't take this the wrong way but he's a lucky man"
That Magic Of The Chocolate
"I've posted this a few times before, but my grandpa was a child on a farm in Germany during WWII."
"On of my favorites was while a bunch of allies were traveling by. A group of Americans broke off and came up to the farmhouse. Through the language barrier his family figured out they were asking for milk. They get some and hand it over never expecting to see it again."
"The Americans take it and kind of stand around for a bit. After a while they bring it back up and manage to convince all the kids to come up. They split it out the drink they made to all the kids."
"Turns they made chocolate milk."
"I doubt this is the only reason my grandpa moved to the US, but I suspect its part of it."
Secret Families And Secret Chickens
"While I have have several family members who died in action, here are the more interesting stories. My great grandparents (with 7 children) were living in Russia under nazi occupation, hiding a Jewish woman in their cellar. Their neighbors knew about it but none of them snitched. The entire family would’ve been gunned down if they did."
"Also, a bomb once fell on their house but everyone survived although my great grandfather was severely injured. Great grandma secretly raised a chicken for him to eat for his injury, as they were starving because the Nazis were raiding the villages for food. On one such raid, she denied having any food but they heard the chicken clucking. That’s probably the nearest the family got to being shot."
You don't know what happens in the heat of war, in the midst of chaos and bloodshed, but you know that decisions have to be made, choices must be followed up on, and some people earn the title of "The Greatest Generation."
Wait For It...
"My grandfather was one of the soldiers that stormed the beaches of Normandy. I didn't hear about that particular portion of his story, but i do know that he was under fire and jumped into the trench only to land on a dead soldiers body. The corpse still smelled of a cologne called 'Evening in Paris' and when grandpa came home to the states he couldn't stand the smell of Evening in Paris - it caused severe ptsd flash backs for him."
"I wish i knew more of his story but he's been missing over 20 years now and is presumed dead."
You Kept Items From The Men On The Front Line?
"My great grandfather was in the trenches of WWI. His wife sewed him a coat because, well, trench warfare. The salvation army was running a program where they would get care packages from the states to soldiers in the war, so she handed the coat over to them to get to her husband."
"A month later she saw some admin from the salvation army walking around wearing the coat. He called her a liar when she said she made the coat for her husband, at least up until the policeman overseeing the argument was convinced to cut a seam to reveal the letter and hidden money she sewed into the lining."
"The salvation army also charged my great grandpa for hot coffee while the red cross gave it to the soldiers for free."
"Yeah, my family doesn't donate to the salvation army."
See? This Guy Gets It.
"Great Grandfather earned his commission during the Battle of Flers–Courcelette. He was company Sergeant Major 25th CEF. During the battle his Major and platoon commanders were either wounded or killed. He took charge of the company and after storming and taking the village he continued to lead his men until another hundred yards of German trenches were captured and held for two days and two nights. He fought at Ypres and The Somme and several other battles during WW1. (I have his uniform, medals, walking stick, battle field maps, field binoculars, photos etc)"
fake shoot a shark...
"My uncle was in the Navy and served in the Pacific theater. He always talked about how they'd see sharks and shoot them. He got kind of a giddy story telling face and ka pow, fake shoot a shark. He had an old school, shark with X eyes tattoo. He didn't really talk much about battles, which ship, or why he hated sharks. Bit as I'm older, I think it had to do with ships that sank and people he lost."
An Action Figure
"This is WW1. My Gran’s grandad (we’ll call him George) was performing an attack with the rest of his regiment over no man’s land. He was being shot at quite a lot, he was shot in the left part of his chest, the bullet did not go into his body, it landed in his cigarette tin and did not harm him. He saved that bullet and it has been passed down the family - my dad even used to play with it as a toy with his action figures."
The Ring Collector
"Grandpa was in WWII in Germany. Said war was atrocious and was very antiwar due to what he saw. It took years, but I was finally able to get a few stories. One of the worst was how allied forces would cut the fingers off German soldiers in order to collect/keep their rings. He said that alone made him question war and what it does to young people."
"My grandfather jumped in an empty foxhole at the same time a Japanese soldier did and they startled each other so much they both immediately jumped out and ran away."
"My father had a similar experience with a russian soldier. The both walked around a corner from different sides and literally smacked into each other. Both ran off."
"Japanese pilots would fly very close to the ground and shoot civilians who would try to hide under trees. This sometimes resulted in the pilot crashing his own plane into the tree too. My great grandmother was a victim of that. She dodged the bullets and the pilot crashed into the tree and blew himself up for nothing."
"My maternal grandfather and his siblings stealthily rescued their dad, who was found hanging upside down, from the Japanese when they invaded the Philippines (he was only around 12)."
"I have family that was in Cebu during WWII, and I always wonder what it was like for them there. There is a large divide between my family that immigrated and stayed, and the family that moved back to the Philippines before the war. I also had family in Hawai, and my grandma watched the Japanese planes fly overhead before hearing the bombs."
"A patient admitted he was a Nazi war criminal a few days before he died. Took part in massacres of Jewish shtetles. 'I'm a murderer, it's all I am.' We had talked about being in the army ( I was too, of course not ww2) and he just let it all out. He knew he was dying, I feel like he never told anyone that but me. Seeing him with his wife and kids and grandkids at his bedside while he was slipping away was more surreal than most other times I've seen it."
"My Grandad was a kid during the Belfast Blitz. Left their shelter after a particular heavy night of bombings to see the roads lined with bodies covered by sheets. Street after street with rows of corpses waiting to be collected. A sight that stayed with him his whole life."
"I remember being around 6 or 7 when my grandfather who was a tanker in the war describing to me and my cousins in great detail watching the special tanks with flamethrowers roll up to Nazi bunkers to burn the Nazis out. People might hold on as long as they can against shells or bullets but not fire."
It's been over a hundred years since the first World War meaning those stories are all now coming secondhand.
The farther we get, the fewer stories we'll hear firsthand from those who were there in WWII.
Listen, if you get the chance.
It's a gift.
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Being an emergency responder is a high-stress job.
It's a career with long, laborious hours.
There is always a hint of danger. And death is always around the corner.
So we as a society could try to help these people out and not put ourselves in unnecessary danger.
Redditor Diligent-Log6805wanted the rescue workers out there to tell us about the times they rescued people. They asked:
"Emergency responders of reddit, what are some dumb things that have lead to an emergency situation?"
These workers and the world already has enough trouble without my stupid.
"So... was she impressed?"Idiot Reaction GIFGiphy
"Kid driving his new truck down a residential street, wet from a recent rain, lost control and hit a parked car, overcorrected and rolled it once back onto its wheels up onto a lawn. He told the fire chief he had gunned it to impress his girlfriend and the chief just looked at him and asked 'So... was she impressed?'"
"I had a client once who was basically Ricky from Trailer Park Boys, loud, obnoxious, hilarious and every second word was some Maritime slang or a derivative of 'f**k.' He has been on daily eye drops for decades for dry eyes, sure ok cool. I hear screaming down the hall and run in and he's wedged against the wall and the bed just screaming 'I f**ked up boys, I dunno what the f**k is f**king happening but It's f**ked."
"Turns out he mistakenly put Jublia which is an antifungal ointment for toenails in his eye thinking it was his eye drops. The strangest part was the bottle has this miniature sponge at the end so you soak the sponge then paint it on like a gel...he painted this antifungal ointment onto his eye which immediately went red and angry then proceeded to do the other one."
"So he's at the eyewash station and I'm talking to poison control and they are pretty stunned because they have zero data on what happens to a human eyeball when it's painted in antifungal. I can hear the staff at the other end kind of snickering under her breath and she asks can you compare and contrast the eyes? Well... he put it in both eyes. The line goes silent because I can tell she is howling. Guy was totally fine but it was a standout for sure."
Will they show?
"Responded to a call of two minors being kidnapped and their parents being beaten in front of them and then taken someplace else. One was around three years and the other one was six. They were held captive in an apartment out of hundreds of residential apartments which not easy to locate, upon reaching there we found out that the boy six was just playin' with us to see if we would actually respond. Their parents were so embarrassed by all of that and vowed to not give them mobile until they are adults."
"When I was an EMT in NYC years ago we had a call for a man 'unresponsive.' We entered an upscale apartment that was a hoard: floor to ceiling newspapers and magazines, just a mess. The woman who called said her brother was in his bedroom sick."
"We entered his room and it was pretty obvious that he had already passed away. She had placed a bowl under his mouth because he had hemorrhaged which had coagulated the day before it was crazy. We asked her why she hadn’t called sooner and she said thought he’d get better?!"
"The joke around the house was 'if you have to put a bowl under a relative who is bleeding from the mouth, call 911. Don’t wait.' Never thought we’d have to advise anyone to do that. But there ya go. Also, it was Thanksgiving. Didn’t eat any cranberry sauce that year."
God Only KnowsMarried At First Sight Lol GIF by LifetimeGiphy
"Had a guy call because he had the cure to Covid and needed a ride to the local education hospital so he could share it. Dude was so high on meth He ended up having 4 or 5 binders worth of scientific looking notes. God only knows what was actually in them."
Wow, people really need to get a grip. Of their minds.
"Sparky"on fire GIFGiphy
"One of my old bosses once built a new shed in his back yard, to replace his old, worn-out one. He moved everything from the old one to the new one, then decided that the best way to remove the old one was by burning it down. He ended up with no sheds and the nickname 'Sparky.'"
Dead in the living room...
"Paramedic here. We responded to this 54 year old having chest pain. Man was having a heart attack. Dude didn't want to go to the hospital because it too early in the day. That's it. We tried to convince him to go. Got the ER doc to talk to him and he wouldn't budge. He signed a Refusal. Later that same night, his family found him. Dead in the living room. We got to him and started CPR, meds, everything. Dude didn't make it. When we advise you to go to the hospital, go."
"Got called to a shooting. A guy says he received a text message from an anonymous number saying his brother has been shot. He checks all the hospitals with no luck. He goes to his brother's apartment but gets no response at his door but sees his car and can hear the TV on. We get there, attempt to get an answer at the door."
"Eventually we kick the door in to make sure he wasn't dying in his apartment. We boot the door, announce police, and find him asleep in his bed. The guy tells us that he got a new phone number and decided to mess with his brother by texting him he had been shot. He then fell asleep and forgot about the text and was woken up by us. So many wasted resources on his idiotic prank."
"Got called to a priority job. The caller was kayaking in a lake and said that there was an unresponsive male in the water. So off we went, lights and sirens. We requested paramedics and fire to attend as well for the rescue operation. There were about 6 emergency vehicles attending including a rescue boat. We got there within minutes and met the caller who showed us where the guy was."
"He was just swimming, minding his own business. The caller said he was unresponsive, but really he was just ignoring her. Had a chat with the guy, he seemed alright, said he swims here every day and likes the quiet. No issues. Would have been nice if the caller told the operator that he was still conscious and swimming rather than 'unresponsive.'"
Chew SlowlySnl GIF by Saturday Night LiveGiphy
"Well, I was taking a lady home from dialysis and she decided to eat a snickers in the back of the ambulance, and she started choking. Had to do the heimlich, and tell her to finish her food at home."
If it's not a true emergency dial 311. Please.
I hated science classes.
As soon as I could I ran.
But it follows me.
Because science can be downright disturbing.
That's why I blocked out so many of the details.
Redditor Flimsy_Finger4291wanted to compare notes on all the frightening facts that are a definitive. They asked:
"What's the scariest thing that science has proven real?"
As if knowledge isn't scary enough, let's her more...
Hello Terrypaint surgery GIF by gifnewsGiphy
"Some tumors have teeth, hair and even eyes."
"My sister had one minus the eyes! It was cantaloupe sized on one of her ovaries before it was found. She named it Terry the Teratoma."
"My best friend and bunk mate from summer camp died from one of those when I was in 7th grade. Happened so quickly, we were a week into camp and he got really sick. They gave us all heavy meningitis shots because they didn’t know what it was and within a few days he was dead. Turned out to be a brain eating amoeba."
"Edit: strangely enough on the same day he started getting sick one of the lifeguards that was sitting out in a boat waiting for the next group of kids for what we called Trojans Vs. Spartans day had a seizure, fell off the boat and drowned. Only deaths they’d ever had in the 50+ years the camp had been open."
Far Far Away
"The size of our galaxy, how many other galaxies there are and how far away they are. When you can actually see something that incomprehensible.."
"The nearest star to us would take the Voyager 70,000 years to reach. The nearest galaxy to ours would take the Voyager 749,000,000 years. If we some how managed to take on the monstrous task of speed of light travel it would still take 25,000 years to reach the nearest galaxy. And it's even further apart after you read this. Wild stuff!"
"How the brain is literally rewired and chemically altered by childhood neglect and abuse."
"It's genuinely kinda freaky, playing a puzzle game, and noticing how quickly you're getting better at it. The kind of puzzles that were a real blocker in the beginning become baby-easy after like an hour of playing puzzles like it."
"My sister faced horrible abuse at the hands of our father, and she has been working through it with multiple therapists over the last 10 years and she is only now starting to get her life back. I feel like she was robbed at a fair chance at life because of our a**hole father."
AwakeBill Murray Im Here GIF by Groundhog DayGiphy
"Prions, horrific and totally unpredictable."
"Fatal familial insomnia is a prions disease where you can't sleep anymore, you just stay awake until your brain deteriorates and you die."
Now I can never UNKNOW about prions. Perfect.
Days gone by...Aging Matt Damon GIFGiphy
"Ageing. I'm content with death but the idea of my body growing old, frail and eventually falling apart before the end game gives me goosebumps."
"Gamma ray bursts. No warning, no escape, no defense, no survivors."
"If you're talking about supernovas if the star isn't too close the gamma burst would probably only destroy some part of our ozone layer. And gamma radiation is actually the least lethal out of all types of waves."
"Entropy. Time shall consume all things. Inevitable heat death of the universe."
"I personally want the 'Big Crunch' to be true. That instead of fizzling out it all gets sucked back into an infinitely small/dense particle and then another Big Bang happens. It’s my explanation for the multiverse. It’s all one timeline. Just infinitely long."
"More like a theory, the 'orangutan paradox,' when we film a documentary on orangutans, they can’t realize that we are observing them, yet they are the most intelligent species of their category, so aliens might be watching us and we are as oblivious as an orangutan."
Fade 2 SilentListen Scooby Doo GIF by MashedGiphy
"That hearing is the last sense to leave, when dying."
Well that is the antithesis of comfort. Life is so fun.
Ever since Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope opened on May 25, 1977, a devoted fanbase developed.
And that fanbase has opinions.
Lots and lots of opinions.
Redditor Ebo8000 wanted to know:
"What is your most controversial take on Star Wars?"
"LASERS LOCK DOORS. LASERS OPEN DOORS. LASERS KNOW WHAT YOU WANT THE DOOR TO DO."
"But if you get past the door and close it behind you and you don’t want anyone to follow you through it…"
"…you shoot the bloody door panel!"
"Also, f*cking hell, we're in the future (or in the past), whatever, and people have better technology."
"Why put the door control RIGHT NEXT to the door? Put the door control system in a breaker box."
"Build every door so in case of malfunction they all shut closed (after all, they're in space and you don't want to lose air in decompression, do you?)"
"Shoot the breaker box, now the whole floor is closed until someone can figure out what happened."
"Almost look like those doors just exist as dramatic elements..."
"I’d like a film about when the Republic was at its height. 1,000 generations is 25,000 years and we’ve had 9 movies about the last 60."
"Not sure if controversial but they need to take the franchise and yeet it 200 years in the future."
"I'm tired of the Empire era where they need to justify why more than 2 Jedi and 2 Sith exist at one moment alongside knowing everything is pointless until Luke leaves the farm."
Design Fail? No!
"The Death Stars weren't badly designed they were just badly managed."
"Yes, designing them assuming large scale assaults was stupid given the political state of the galaxy but the second Death Star wasn't even finished so that doesn't count, it's all Palpatine's fault. As for the first one that was finished, the Alliance made three runs on the exhaust port."
"The first was called off before they made it to the trench, the second failed and the third was carried out by space Jesus which isn't exactly fair."
"All in all it sounds like a fairly effective defence when you consider the design philosophy."
"The entire universe has a cool factor that outweighs the atrocious storytelling."
"Bro imagine the following movies, but if they were in Star Wars universe."
"Magnificent 7 - A Jedi, Bounty Hunter, Ex-Imperial, Pilot, Wookie, a Droid, and Lawman team up to defend a town against pirates"
"Dredd - Two Jedi climb up an apartment block to confront a new dark side user who has mental control of the entire apartment block"
"Supernatural (T.V. Show) - A Jedi and their apprentice go around and solve and defeat Dark Side Force spots—where the Force consolidates from emotions and creates foul creatures to fight"
"Top Gun - But it's you know, Wedge or something"
"Ford versus Ferrari - But it's podracing or swoop racing"
"Something about the ships in the original series always felt more like real ships than in any of the later movies, despite the objectively better effects of the later films."
"Some of this is probably the use of models (i.e. actual three dimensional objects), but I think there is some critical difference in the design that makes them feel more real (probably because they were designed to be things that would actually work as models)."
"Whatever it is, I LOVED the ships in the original series and never really liked any of the new ones."
"The original trilogy changed the world by showing a universe in space that was dirty and lived in. The special effects from the later movies did not recognize this."
"Boba Fett is an oddly overrated background character, and even after watching The Book of Boba Fett, I don’t really care about him."
"He was never a character. He was a cool helmet."
"He was a cool jetpack too."
Time for the weather...
"Han is actually older than Obi-Wan due to Time Dilation."
"Time dilation in a universe where every planet and moon has the same gravity and atmosphere?"
"And just 1 biome."
"That way they only need one Weather Channel per planet."
"And over to Klaatu for the Tatooine weather report. Klaatu?"
"It's still sunny."
These are the droids we're looking for.
"Star Wars is actually the life story of C-3PO—think about it."
"I disagree. I think its R2-D2's story. He had a much greater presence in Episode 1, 2 and 3, and got the same amount of screen time as C-3PO in 4, 5 and 6."
Fan is short for fanatic.
"Fans ruined the whole franchise."
So, did your controversial Star Wars opinion make the list?
Death is a subject many people shy away from because what they don't know beyond our realm of existence can be intimidating.
Hollywood hasn't helped, as movies and TV have typically portrayed death as something sinister and violent.
How could anyone be convinced death is a peaceful transition, and that what awaits on the other side is actually an unimaginable utopia?
Curious to hear strangers' thoughts about death, Redditor GoodNess2020 invoked a quote by an iconic literary figure and asked:
"Mark Twain once said, 'I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.' Why do you agree/disagree with his statement?"
People clarified what actually terrified them most about death
"I don't fear being dead. I fear dying."
"Yeah, that's usually the issue. It's why that quote doesn't mean much, to a lot of people."
"It's not a fear of eventually dying and not existing anymore. It's the act of dying itself. He didn't constantly die for all of time. He just wasn't alive."
Concept Of Loss
"To have not existed for billions of years is to have spent billions of years never knowing loss. To die is to know loss."
"If you look into a new bank account and see zero dollars, it’s nothing. If you look into a bank account that once had a million dollars and see there’s nothing in there, you’ll know it’s absence."
People provided an analogy to articulate what ceasing to exist must feel like.
It's About Time
"Time is only relevant to you when you are alive. He is right. Have you ever been sedated for surgery? You go under, and then instantly wake up and procedure is done.... or you died so no worries."
Consciousness Is Life
"You won’t be feeling anything in death though is the thing. That infinite/instant sensation was a living feeling, you just weren’t conscious for it - your body experienced it anyways. No body, no experience."
Like Being Under
"That is very true, but for me, that's the closest amalgamation of what it probably feels like."
"No one can tell you what actual death will be like. It's impossible for you to experience nothingness."
"Thinking about death can be paralysing sometimes, and when I remember that the closest thing i can link as an experience I had, being put under, was actually sort of pleasant. I then think maybe death will be like that, and honestly it doesn't seem that bad."
When In Deep Sleep
"Yeah in contrast to sleep where you can actually feel like time has passed when you wake up."
Think Line Between Death And Slumber
"As CGPGrey puts it, your bed might very well be a suicide machine."
"Given our lack of understanding for the fundamental processes of our sentience, it's entirely possible that when you fall asleep, your mind is functionally killed, disassembled, analyzed, sorted, tweaked, and adjusted by your biology, before being reassembled when you wake. Every night."
People opened up about their insecurities around the concept of death.
Fear Of What Comes Next
"I’m just paranoid that something does happen after death and it’s just based on one thing that you didn’t know about."
The Circle Of Death
"There’s nothing to fear in oblivion. Unless, of course, your consciousness survives death. If so, it would be reasonable to fear the sensation of consciousness without senses, suspended alone in the cosmos, with no one to hear you, and no way to make yourself known. No reference point for counting time – a count that does not matter anyway in a literal eternity."
"You might wish that you still had a corporeal form, only so that you could make your mouth move to express your terror, to make the universal form of a terrified scream – the form of a letter O."
"But you won’t be able to. You just won’t!"
"This has been the Children’s Fun Fact Science Corner. Brought to you by shame, loneliness, and the letter..."
When Faith Fails You
"what do you mean I'm going to hell?! I was a good person and attended church regularly!"
"Ah yes, but you failed to put a blue feather in your hat and then turn in circles the times praising God Almighty on the fifth Sunday after your twelfth birthday. To the pit with you!!!"
There is an poignant episode from the Twilight Zone that brought me a sense of peace surrounding the concept of death.
Death was embodied by a handsome police officer who had been shot–played by a young Robert Redford–and begs to be let into the home of an elderly woman who had been living in perpetual fear of meeting "Mr. Death."
As the episode continues, she discovers much to her dismay that she welcomed Death into her home, but he warmly reassures her there is nothing to fear.
The episode ends with her finally offering her hand to Death after much protest, and they peacefully walk out together, arm in arm, into the light.
It was sweet and beautifully done. The 1962 episode was titled, "Nothing in the Dark."
That's how I imagine it to be.
A dashing Prince of Darkness telling me it's time to join him in guiding me to the other side.