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Memories of Memorial Day

May 31, 2010 Leave a comment

In 2004, my bride and I had the great pleasure of touring Normandy – 60 years after the momentous events of D-Day. Though the waves have reclaimed much of the devastation along the shore line, 60 years was not enough to fully erase the artifacts of men fighting and dying to overthrow a tyrant.

Here are some photos of our trip – craters at Ponte du Hoc from the shelling by allied destroyers, a well-preserved German pill box and a completely destroyed bunker that suffered the brunt of a destroyer shell. At Ponte du Hoc, situated between Utah Beach and Omaha Beach, the craters were formed by the Allied destroyers USS Satterlee and HMS Talybont as they bombarded the clifftop, providing the 2nd Ranger Battalion with cover as they scaled the cliffs.

One especially compelling moment of the trip was our visit to The American Cemetery at Normandy overlooking Omaha Beach. This small piece of American soil is the final resting place for over 9,000 men killed while taking the shore. It stuck me as strange that everyone visiting the cemetery was speaking a non-english dialect, but then the trumpet began to play taps and the place went silent. You could have heard a pin drop. It was tough to choke back the tears.

“What the Americans, the British, and the Canadians were trying to do was get back a whole continent that had been taken from its rightful owners by Adolf Hitler’s German army. It was one of the most monumentally unselfish things one group of people ever did for another.” – Andy Rooney

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