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Monday
Jun082009

65

There has been some fairly major media coverage of the anniversary of D-Day, but most have focused on the landing itself.  Here's a bit about the aftermath.  It first ran in November of 2006 on the original Blonde Champagne, as part of a series on a recent trip to France.

After Omaha, we stopped at the American cemetery in Normandy.  The French have ceded this land to the United States, and so, half a planet away from where I was born, I stood on American soil.

The plots are on a hill near the sea where the landings took place.


It's very quiet.We didn't have time to examine each grave, although each grave deserved it. Here are a few.

There are over nine thousand just like them.

I passed one of a private from Ohio. A bird had left its mark; I pulled tissue from my pocket and wiped it clean. The sleeve of my jacket was good enough for my own needs.

This is the ceiling of the cemetery chapel. A mosaic shows America blessing her young men, sending them off to war


...and France placing a laurel wreath on the brow of her gift.

We passed several school groups, and a few veterans-- fewer each year. Here is a gift from some who left just before we reached the Memorial. The card reads: "This wreath is placed in recognition of your bravery in the Normandy campaign. From the English veterans of the Sword Beach."It was laid at the foot of this statue, called "The Spirit of American Youth Rising From the Waves."Every hour, a bell tolls "Faith of Our Fathers".

And it's still quiet.

These are the gates to the Garden of The Missing, which is ringed with walls bearing the names of soldiers whose remains were never recovered.

Here is how closely the names are spaced.

And here is how much wall there is...

...one side of it.


No one is ever the quite the same, after Omaha.

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Reader Comments (4)

Thank you for this. It is humbling. This was the first year that I couldn't call my dad up and thank him for what he did there.

June 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBob Carpenter

Seeing "Saving Private Ryan" for the first time was an overwhelming experience. All the noise, the blood, the screams...

After 4-5 times of seeing it on TV, when you realize that we are all Private Ryan, the whole thing takes a whole new dimension.

Sometimes it's too much of a burden, you know? The responsibility of not wasting the gift that was bought with the lives of so many men and women that were better than you.

June 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterred pill junkie

Nice post. I am getting a little tired of those clowns at the Weather Channel's segments on how weather affected the landing. It it too romanticized...the real landing was a bunch of horribly seasick and terrified 20-somethings hoping just to live a few more seconds.

Enormous thanks, Country. That means a lot.

June 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMB
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