Friday, October 17, 2014

An Afternoon in Normandy

On this beach, Arromanches,
the Allied troops in the thousands came ashore 
on D-Day, June 24, 1944. 
We walked along the sun-warmed sand 
seventy years later
and could not imagine
the fierce battle
in this place.

Bunkers at Arromanches 
Bunkers still face the sea, mossy now,
the rocky coast
once an objective, now background;
the rolling incoming waves
as constant as the passing of time.

Pont du Hoc sea view

Longues sur Mer 
Across the way, fields of wheat
camouflaged yet more bunkers,
a simple boundary between the place of landing
and a field of white crosses.

Memorial of the Fallen
Back on Omaha Beach,
metal forms reach to the sky,
a memorial for the fallen.

Omaha Beach Memorial (Camp 2004)
We had joined a parade in Paris, simply to show support for those who marched in favor of peace. An old woman, perhaps then in her eighties, came up to us and asked in French if we were American. When we told her, "Yes," she began to cry. She fell to her knees right there on the cobbled street and thanked us for sending Americans to fight during World War II.

These pictures bring back the memories of that visit to Normandy and the D-Day sites. My father and father-in-law both served during World War II, as did thousands of others. Now the battles seem like old history, very far from our daily life. But here in Normandy, the Americans and the Canadians and the British are remembered.

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