Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Omaha Beach

We rented a car and went up to Normandy to see Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery, and see the 1,000 year old Bayeux Tapestry. Omaha Beach was incredibly moving. On a beautiful day we looked out over the dunes from the bluffs, and it was impossible not to get chills thinking about those beaches being littered with corpses, the water turned red from blood. Behind me sat all of the meticulously lined up graves of the thousands of American soldiers, medics, chaplains, and more who lost their lives on that beach to free France.

The beach itself is one of the prettiest I've ever seen. The water is clear, and a much deeper shade of blue than our Atlantic back home.

When we arrived, we watched a film about the aftermath of the invasion. Survivors and their relatives were interviewed, and especially poignant were the siblings who lost their little or big brothers on, or shortly following, D-Day. It's strange to see them age, and then go back to snapshots of their brothers in uniform, captured forever at such a young age, their whole lives ahead of them in their expressions, but in reality encapsulated in just a small bit of time, cut far too short to make any sense at all. It's hard not to be sappy about this, particularly when you see old veterans being pushed around the stones in their wheelchairs. There are so few veterans left now.

Watching Jamie take his shoes off and run through the water gave me a feeling that is hard to put into words. It was impossible for me to separate what had happened on the shores with the vulnerability of my own son. We can do our best to protect our children from war and violence, but this planet of ours isn't the safest place in this vast universe of ours, is it?

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