Sunday, June 6, 2010

65 Years Later on the Beaches of Normandy

Sixty Five years marches us through time and away from those beaches in Normandy. Glancing back just does not satisfy the longing to capture that moment, to fully understand the impact of those Allied forces crossing the perilous waters to find themselves gaining entrance to a most menacing rendezvous.

Sixty five years ago British troops hunkered down awaiting orders to move forward. Canadian troops joined the operation staking a claim to Juno Beach. Landing crafts transported American troops and with their doors open they waded ashore under cover of Naval fire. In their crouched positions anticipation of the movement lingered heavy in the air creating deep impressions on that beach. B26 Marauders dotted the skies above Normandy creating a blanket of security for those on vigil.

Sea crafts brought thousands across the English Channel. Scores perished in those waters as they made their final approach. Those that landed first took the brutal brunt for all those that continued to pour in on the waves. Hundreds of thousands met their end that day but not in vain. The liberation of France marked a most crucial turning point in the Western theatre and created a permanent impression in the Wrinkles of Time.

General Dwight Eisenhower looked across those beaches in 1951 to remember the sacrifice and the remembering has never ceased. Year after year, pilgrims come and witness the painted poppies on the beach pebbles. A beach sixty five years ago stained in red still haunts our memories. If you were to stand on that beach today, be certain that you'll peer deep into the eyes of a veteran of that War of 1939 - 1945. Listen to his eyes, they'll tell you a most gut wrenching story. Then give him a single solitary salute, imprint his story onto your mind because one day you'll have to embark on that trip for him.


somaphx said...

Excellent and poignant article! Thanks for reminding everyone what day this is.

During my second year in Marfa, where one collects friends like lint, one of the newcomer strays to show up at my garden dinner parties was a gay French Harley-riding former Foreign League Lt., attorney & artist -- Alain.

Always argumentative in that abrasive & audacious way that only the French have (suggests Frog genetics), Alain would adopt his freakface, eyebrows arched to hairline, eyes bulging, face red and mouth firing on all eight pistons:

"You could have come sooner! Americans left us to suffer for years! Why did you not liberate us sooner?!"

My reply -- in my best Sam Kinison impression:

"Because you stupid frogs were behind the treeline, shooting us down on the beach while we were trying to rescue your worthless asses! We should have taken a coffee & croissant break, and left you for the Nazis!"

Funny, though, how no one seems to recall this only-the-French page in their World History books ....

twister said...

Your post puts me in mind of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. If you'll forgive me for imposing upon your blog post...

We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.

Thank you for recalling to our memory the true stories of heroes past.

Cheap Tricks and Costly Truths said...

Thank you kindly the both of you :-)

Love that from Lincoln...just beautiful...

Oh, I don't know about leaving the French to the Nazis...I love French food and attitudes...they ROCK!