Moved and Thankful
It rains two times a year in Normandy. Once for six months and the second time for six months. – Saying/joke in Normandy
A few days ago my parents and I took a trip to Caen (it lived up to the cloudy and gray Normandy weather, even at the end of May!) where we toured the museum and from there we took a guided tour of the D-Day beaches. The whole experience was very moving and made me feel thankful for the actions of all of those men and women 65 years ago.
The pillboxes from which the Germans where firing on the Allies (Americans, Canadians, and British were the three major forces landing on D-Day, June 6, 1944) are still intact.
The bombing evidence is also still very visible with large holes in the ground.
Today other fields close to the sites have grown over. Our guide, Sandrine (who was terrific) actually told us that a few days ago another body with dog tags was found. She explained that many soldiers were quickly buried during the advances and people forgot where they were buried later.
The most moving part of our trip was the stop at the American cemetery (this year is the 65th anniversary of D-Day). President Obama will be delivering a speech there in about a week. The cemetery is on a cliff overlooking the sea and the graves just seem to stretch on. There are about 9,000 soldiers buried there, including two of the brothers who the film Saving Private Ryan was based off of as well as Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (who was one of the first people off of the boats, he wanted to inspire other men to follow him and he received the Medal of Honor). Additionally four women are buried there, three postal workers and one Red Cross worker.
We then headed down to Omaha beach where the highest casualities were sustained.
And on Omaha beach someone drew the following. Maybe I am naive but I hope it is something we can all acheive even with close to seven billion people in this world.