... I always kept a plate of steel around my emotions, and sights I saw bounced off the plate without penetrating until much later.


… Every time I think about returning to the front again, I die a little. I’m afraid of how I’ll react under fire now that I’ve seen and felt it. I know what it is to go without sleep for days, to be so cold you can’t hold onto a cup of coffee for the shakes, to see friends killed, and, worst of all, to hear the screams of the wounded.

... John dug a foxhole in our backyard on Christmas night in Ohio in 1994 to honor the 50th anniversary of seeing his friends killed in action in the Ardennes.  He stayed there until the wee hours, and then crawled in bed next to me.  Julia Seiberling Shaw

… starting out for the front. …. The sky was red with the thundering guns of our artillery batteries. There was a constant roar all through the night, which scared us all half to death. …. I, being the first man in the company to jump off, was given a separate and extremely detailed orientation of the terrain and obstacles I would be encountering. I wasn’t particularly scared or excited because I didn’t know what was ahead. I figured I’d be shot--first scouts usually are!--and the only question in my mind was whether or not I’d be killed. …. 


…  all the guys coming out of the war will be more skeptical and cynical than before. Maybe bitter, too. I know we don’t think much about patriotism, for instance. I want happiness so much, and I want to be shed of this terrible loneliness that I have for the past six years felt so keenly. I know that it’s a lucky man these days who has the things I’ve got now, and I should have plenty of  happiness, and I shouldn’t complain.  Well, maybe about a year from now I’ll be living once again.
 

Rifleman Shaw writes home during WWII from foxholes, pillboxes, Geilenkirhcen, Battle of the Bulge and hospitals.