Thursday, November 30, 2017

Hallowed Ground

Early morning in the Normandy countryside

After  traversing hot and arid landscapes through Spain, Canary Islands and Morocco the lush landscapes of Normandy were a welcome change. The light was golden as it the filtered through the yellow leaves of autumn. The nice cool morning was peaceful as our bus rolled through the countryside. Fog still hung low in the valleys, cows were out grazing in the pastures and the apples trees heavy with fruit passed by the windows in a flash.

The first destination was the to see the American Cemetery then on to the landing beaches of Omaha. However, we lucked out; the tide on the beaches was at low tide rising just like on the morning of D Day. For the Americans the invasion started at 6:30 and for the British and Canadians it was to come at 7:30.

Omaha beach

low tide, Omaha beach  

low tide, Omaha beach

However, standing on that beach the words that come to mind are vast and expansive. It is hard to put into words what it must have been like for the young men. If they made it off the boats slogging through soft sand with a rifle, pack wet uniform and boots. How loud and confusing that morning must have been. The solitude for me on that beach was overwhelming.

Les Braves Memorial, by Anilore Banon added in 2004

I took my pictures, gathered up my sand, and boarded the bus for the American Cemetery.

The American Cemetery is the hallowed ground of the remains of the soldiers who died during the invasion. The French donated that plot of land to American so you are actually on American soil while in the cemetery. It is the final resting  place of 9,386 American soldiers.

As you walk up to the semi-circle   the battle plans flank both sides of the monument. Standing there, you only see a part of it for you have to crest the hill to get the true magnitude of this place.  Sons, fathers, brothers all lay silent as you gaze on row upon row of  crosses and  star of David mark this hallowed ground. Even those only known to God rest here.

Known only to God 

Final words

1 comment:

  1. Words do not begin to be able to describe this beautifully written tribute to Normany. Respect for the heros who rest here and deep love for America and its giving spirit are quietly expressed with passion. May we never forget.