Saturday, June 6, 2009

There are places I remember...

I was there in 2002, the era of Bush, Chirac and Colin Powell. It was the first Memorial Day following September 11. We had invitations from the US Embassy to attend and a group of us drove up for the day. Our driver (a friend with the biggest van) picked us up bright and early and we hit the autoroute... we had a great time enjoying the camaraderie and rare moment of being together for something that wasn't office related.

As we approached Colleville, the streets were lined with French and American flags and military "checkpoints". We had to show our invitations and passports several times along the way. We arrived early as told, which gave us plenty of time to park and get good seats.

Going into the cemetery took my breath away. Knowing the events which took place there, and the enormity of the loss of life, I couldn't help but be moved by the vast number, row after row after row... of grave markers. The sea in the background and the decorated veterans who survived...

I am a military brat. I have written about this before. "Taps" starts the tears. Fly-bys do me in. Once the ceremonies were over, I pulled myself together and we finally had the opportunity to walk around and visit the grounds. I found myself standing and chatting with U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Larry Poe, overlooking the beach. Lots of stars and bars for a Navy brat like me.

If you have not yet been to Normandy, put it on the list of must-see places to visit in France. It is such an awe-inspiring place to be. The museums and sites will stay with you forever. To have been there for a special ceremony was a privilege, but I need to go back and spend a day there. It's a peaceful place to be.

Some have gone and some remain.

1 comment:

Starman said...

There are still people who believe that we never should have gotten into WWII, in spite of being attacked by Japan. It was the last legitimate war in which the US was involved.