My wife has an uncle who participated in D-Day. If you go to his house you can see his various service awards and citations from his days in the Army. On his coffee table is a framed article about him in the LA Times, written in the 1980's. Nothing fancy, just a piece on him and a few other guys who live in LA, and participated in D-Day. According to him, he was in just long enough to get the job done. He still has his uniform hanging in the closet.
My wife's uncle was injured on D-Day and he was awarded the Purple Heart for it. To this day he is embarrased about the award. He explains that he was just doing his job, knew full well why he was there, and should have died like most of his buddies.
Before the war he was a football player and a track runner in high school. He worked at a part time job after school, catching and killing rabbits, and then selling them to families for food.
After the war, he went to college, got his degree, and started working as a special agent for Wells Fargo. He retired from that company in 1992. He raised 7 kids in the LA area and now has 26 grandkids. At family reunions, he is the guy who seems surrounded by everyone as he cracks jokes and tells funny stories. Every now and then he will tell an old WW2 story. All of his war stories involve humor.
He lives in a suburban home in Whittier California. When we go visit him, he drinks Budwesier and smokes Marlboros. He is a practicing Catholic, and he spends his mornings making bookmarks with various saints on them. In the afternoons, he goes to nursing homes and passes them out to the residents.
From all appearances, he is just a normal guy. He is not a normal guy. He is a hero. He is one of my heroes. Thank God for heroes.