Friday, June 6, 2014

70 years

70 years ago American, Canadian and British young men were storming the beaches of Normandie (French spelling). 10 years ago I was blessed with the opportunity to visit the beaches and I will never forget how awestruck I was at the beauty of Normandie, France.

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I will never forget the moment I first stood in the middle of a 360 degree theater watching unedited footage of the Invasion. I don't think words could ever be said to describe the feelings that came over me.

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Images of the cemetery there will never do justice to the magnitude of the place. It seems like the crosses or Stars of David go on for miles. You can't help but be struck by the beauty of the place while feeling the eerie peace that seems to wash over Omaha Beach today. You can be there with 100s of people and still hear a pin drop. It's a place where people really do come to pay respects. They don't yell or scream. They wonder around, thankful for the sacrifices those hundreds and thousands of men made for each and every single one of us.

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 The French people have done an amazing job at preserving the beaches. You can still see the bunkers where the Nazis were hunkered down and firing on the American soldiers. You can still see barricades, the amphibious tanks that sank and a ship that was run aground down on the actual beach.


The landscape itself is still very hilly from where bombs hit the area. They are rolling hills today that almost seem to tell the story of what went on there 70 years ago.

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It's almost impossible to describe the feelings of emotions that come over you when you find out that soldiers were landing on the beaches and then scaling massive cliffs. They were scaling these cliffs while coming under intense fire. I cannot even imagine the strength it would take to overcome that or the terror you have to swallow and put out of your mind. There is a reason why they are The Greatest Generation.


I will be forever thankful for my Uncle Johnny. Not just because he can always make me smile or laugh but because at the ripe age of 19 he stormed the beaches of Normandie with the second wave. He doesn't talk about his experiences there but who could blame him.

I really hope and pray I can get back to the beaches again one day. In some twisted way they are my favorite place I have ever visited. I ache to go back while Uncle Johnny wishes we could forget all about them.

"You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love.
The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge -- and pray God we have not lost it -- that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt." President Ronald Reagan - June 6, 1984

3 comments:

  1. This is awesome! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  2. hey! so first of all, thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting earlier :) HOWEVER I tried replying back and it says you're a no-reply blogger. You can easily fix this by googling "how to fix no-reply blogger" - I remember being a no-reply blogger and I thought nobody liked me because nobody would respond to my comments and that wasn't the case....it was because they COULDN'T, much like today, I tried responding to you but I couldn't :( Anyways, I wanted to tell you because a lot of people don't take the time out to tell someone they need to fix it :)

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  3. What an amazing post- and so nice to see people recognizing today for what it is! God Bless your sweet Uncle too!

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