A New Reality

All of my life I have heard about D-Day and the invasion at Normandy.  Until recently, however, it was just a page in history or an event portrayed in a movie, but a few weeks ago it became something more when I actually visited some of the landing beaches.

Looking at the challenging sites where 160,000 Allied troops landed was overwhelming.  The beaches were so open and in some places there were cliffs to scale making access difficult.

A few feet from the shore were bunkers from which enemy troops had opened fire and there were craters remaining in the soil showing signs of battle.  Suddenly, I experienced a new reality about what really happened June 6, 1944, and it gave me chills.

Nothing, however, moved me the way the visit to the American cemetery did.  There, in perfectly straight lines marked by white crosses are the resting places for the Americans who died in Normandy.

So many young men, all not known, whose courage and patriotism had brought them to this place.

It so happened I was there at 3:00 in the afternoon when across the grounds came the sound of the Star Spangled Banner and Taps.  I fell to my knees, tears streaming down my face wanting somehow to change the pages of history that cost so much.  

Driving away from the site we passed this sculpture, Les Braves, a monument to the Americans who liberated France and symbolizing hope, freedom and fraternity.  While it didn’t soften my sadness, I was touched by its gentle beauty and meaning.

There is nothing pretty about war and one can only hope the effort, no matter what side, is worth it.

Sharing at Thursday Favorite Things


9 thoughts on “A New Reality

  1. I visited Normandy some years ago. It’s a sobbing place. I was in tears walking by these wite crosses…

  2. what a beautiful post my friend.Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. Sorry I’m a little late in saying thank you xo

  3. My dad fought in France…Italy, Germany…he was a patriot…he taught us kids to love our country…to respect the ones who have fought for us, to keep us safe…who gave their
    lives so that we can live with in this great country of personal freedoms….My dad had always
    wanted to visit Normandy…never made it there….I am glad that you did…I think I would
    have fell to my knees too…sobbed for the ones who never made it off the beach…I just
    wish more people of the newer generations realized how great “The Greatest Generation” was…for my dad…he was great….and I miss him terribly….

  4. I live in Miami. 51% foreign born now and much of the rest first and second generation. Not too many people here have a knowledge of or respect for such things. I played Reagan,s speech when he was there this morning. No one could have done it better.

    1. Sadly, Carl, I’m not sure how much thought I gave to that terrible event until I saw where it occurred. Now, it haunts me as I think about the loss of young life there and in every war.

  5. If childbirth taught me about being a woman, my visit to Normandy taught me about being an American. Call it hokey if you like, but when I die, I want some of my ashes scattered offshore at Omaha beach? Why? That is the closest I will ever come to being a hero.

    Nothing I have ever done can approach what each and every one of those men did. Those who lived, and especially those who died, did more in one day than I can claim for a lifetime. Sure, there are lives that I have saved, but they saved a way of life. Without them, we’d be speaking German on the East Coast and Japanese on the West.

    They landed June 6, 1944 and liberated Paris August 25, 1944. Not one soldier had time for a proper bath during those two and a half months of summer. When Parisians asked what they wanted, many said, “A bath,” So countless households burned their furniture to heat water to bathe their liberators. The men bathed and went back to war when they were clean.

    1. A very touching sentiment, Dixie. I’m just finished reading a novel set during the Civil War, and I bet those soldiers longed for a bath as well.

  6. I haven’t had the TV on today and feel ashamed I haven’t thought of what happened on June 6,1944, today! Your post touched me. Thank you for the reminder.

    I can only imagine being there in the afternoon when they played The Star Spangled Banner and Taps! It would have gotten to me also. I did not see the sculpture you pictured and was glad to learn about it.

    1. Bonnie, the sculpture was installed by the French government in 2004. It was created by a Parisian sculptress Anilore Banon.

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