I can’t. My father went to France after D-Day. His job was to clean up the country and chase any remaining German soldiers out. They did a good job, and my father helped get a French camoflague manufacturing company back up and operational.
Next spring Larry and I are heading over to England and from there we will cross the channel to France. This will be our third trip and we plan to drive my father’s route through northeastern France stopping in every town he was in, recapturing his memories into mine.
I have talked about my father in other posts. I affectionately call him Willy. He was a great dad and an even better grand dad although that was cut short because he danced the non-Hodgkins lymphoma dance with death for three years and death got the final dance. I miss him all the time.
The day Larry and I took the train up to Normandy from Paris was overcast as it is today while I watch the celebration on the news. A friend of ours picked us up at the train station and the first thing I remember seeing was the Dwight D. Eisenhower memorial statue. When we arrived in Normandy the American flag was flying all over town.
The D-Day museum has a wonderful exhibit of the invasion including films of the event. The planning that went into liberating France took months. How those in the know kept the invasion secret is amazing. It took a full year to plan.
Standing on the beach is so inspiring and raises the patriotic blood levels inside you. Going to the tops of the cliffs and entering the German bunkers are tragically sad. That is where they stood to kill soldiers.
I walked into the cemetary and cried, you can’t help but cry, so many soldiers, so many graves, a very emotional place.
We sat here and contemplated the loss of life.
American families live on the grounds of the cemetary because the soil is actually US ground. They drive automobiles with US plates-France deeded the land to us – as was the right thing to do.
I went to Germany back in 1993 at Christmas time and had to opportunity to go to Auschwitz. I took no pictures. What I saw there is burned into my brain permanently. War is hell – pure hell we all know that.
Does that mean peace would be heaven or that to achieve perfect peace is an impossible dream?
Think about that for a while and never forget D-Day.