For most of us, what we know of D-Day, with its images of men wading ashore, amidst a storm of gunfire from German troops, is taken from books or movies in which the end is known from the beginning: America triumphed, despite the loss of 9,000 soldiers, whose blood literally turned the waters at Normandy red.

It is a very different thing to have lived through the carnage. Because the men who did live through it had to put their psyches through paces most of us—God-willing—never will. They had to eschew safety and perform acts—like disembarking from landing craft, amidst gunfire—that could well lead to their deaths and the bereavement of those they would be leaving behind.