This is part of a chapter from my father's memoirs. It's from 1944, he was 18 years old and in France.
In WWII, I was working with an infantry outfit in a little village outside of Orleans and the Germans were acting up a little bit. We were walking down a narrow street and the Germans opened up with machine guns. Most of the section ducked into a doorway on the opposite side of the street and I ducked into one on the other side. The door was locked and I couldn’t get in and all I was doing was standing pressed up against the door and the bullets were nicking pretty close. I decided that maybe I could get across the street to where the other guys were hiding. The street wasn’t that wide, probably no more than an alley, but it was still open. I got jammed up against the door as hard as I could; took my helmet off so it wouldn’t fall off; got my rifle clutched tight, put my head down and took off across the street. I wasn’t planning to stand there and open the door, I was planning on going right through the door. Just as I got to the door, it opened and I through the room and into the wall on the other side of the room. Here my buddies had seen me through the window and knew what I was doing. They stood there looking at me on the floor and laughing and asked me “What’s the matter? Didn’t you think we’d open the door?”
Close to the end of the war, we were staying in an old chateau. Rumor had it that it had belonged to Napoleon’s daughter at one time. The Germans had been in there and when they got kicked out, we moved in. Written on the one wall was something in German that took my eye. I couldn’t read German so I wrote it down and got someone to translate it later. It was from a German soldier and said: “To the American soldier who reads this: May we never meet on the battlefield and may you return to your home victorious and I to mine alive."