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Friday, June 6, 2008

Let Us Not Forget

Today is the 64th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy, otherwise known as D-Day.

Here's to those young, brave men who lost so much but turned the tide of war. One of those brave guys was my grandpa, who landed at Omaha Beach.

Merci to sweet Mary-Laure at Aurea for her lovely post.


For those of you who live in San Francisco, sometime be sure to pay a visit to the S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien, one of only two remaining fully restored Liberty ships.

This ship is a recognized national monument, and they have regular events where you can sail aboard this colossal ship and learn about the Liberty Ships and the brave men who sailed them. I took a trip last year, and the best part of all was talking to all of the men who sailed on ships like these--Merchant Marines and U.S. servicemen--learning about their lives on board in time of war.

They loved telling of their stories, some hair-raising and some sweet, and I was so glad to hear them.


greg June 6, 2008 at 6:35 PM  

amen to that!

I get a little peeved sometimes when people talk about the things we deal with now in such "OMG we cants do it its so tough" and then I think of what this country had to do in the 30s and 40s - go from being a regional power, 2nd to the Empire, and go up against Hitler and the gang, win, and do so without blogs, computers, IMs or rockets.

All I know is if I'd been at D-Day I'd have been scared out of my mind. I'm sure the guys there were too. the fact they kept it together and scored a big win was like, wow.

Relyn June 6, 2008 at 7:12 PM  

Jeffrey and I were thinking about D-Day today. How like you to not only think of it, but to honor it, and to teach us something at the same time. You are just wonderful.

Octavine Illustration June 6, 2008 at 8:43 PM  

i just read mary-laure's post right before yours and was already feeling a bit emotional thanking goodness for my liberty and such, when i came upon your post about your grandmother (note: still have one more post to read but had to comment before the moment fled) and was (am) so thankful and happy that your grandmother is doing well. you my dear are so lucky to have her...she sounds wonderful. that little curly haired girl is so blessed to have a great grandmother and a great grandmother so blessed to have such an beautiful great granddaughter. (and i love that grandma won the beautiful baby contest! a most romantic family memory...)

Phivos Nicolaides June 6, 2008 at 8:58 PM  

D-Day yeap great day. I would say however that history does repeat itself. Quite similar events and situations do tend to follow a kind of pattern. Just look a little bit back to history and find out... Athenians, Mecedonians (Greeks), Persians, Agyptians, Romans, Arabs, French, Spanish, Germans, British now Americans...

TheElementary June 7, 2008 at 7:05 PM  

Times were so hard then. I echo Greg's sentiment: today's generation have no idea what Tough Times actually means. It's more than having to skip your giant latte in the mornings, more than not being able to see a movie every week.
Those people fought knowing that the chances of survival were slim, and the ones left behind were also brave and strong and knew what loss meant.
Whew. I'll lightly step off my soapbox now...

Anonymous June 7, 2008 at 8:58 PM  

My goodness, does a twenty something even KNOW what or where D-Day or Normandy is? The americans of that time were called the 'greatest generation'. Without question. Your grandpa landed at omaha beach? Lord, that was the toughest one, with the highest causalites, if I am correct. I salute him.

karey m. June 7, 2008 at 9:43 PM  

good god! your last three posts?

i mean...you're a hell of a writer. seriously.

now i have to go back and reread...thanks for these words.

tangobaby June 8, 2008 at 9:27 AM  

Hi all,

I came down with a bit of a cold so am a little late in catching up with all of you...but I'm so thrilled to see your comments here on this topic especially. So, I'll dive in here:

Hi greg,

I agree with you completely. We really have no idea about the sacrifices that were made in previous generations that have afforded us a lifestyle we currently enjoy (for the most part).

In truth, I'm not sure exactly why we waited so long to get into the war with England being pummeled so much, but it's my impression from speaking with the veterans I have, including my grandpa, that none of the men who enlisted had any doubts about why they went to fight and were glad to do it.

My grandpa won't talk about D-Day. He told us one graphic story once, and then immediately stopped talking. I know it affected him every day since and he deals with it in his own way. But were those twenty and thirty year old guys brave, in the face of almost certain death? Hell yes.

Hi Relyn,

Of course I am not surprised that you and Jeffrey were on the same wavelength as me! I think it's good that we try to teach ourselves as much as we can about our history. Having the opportunity to actually meet people who participated in it is extremely special.

Hi Octavine,

I was so touched by Mary-Laure's post too. We're so wrapped up in our own country's perspective on things that to read something so loving from outside our own borders is really breathtaking.

I will be sure to give my grandma a kiss from you!

Dear Phivos,

Yes, I'm sure that you are right and all of these invasions and wars have remarkable similiarities, but since my grandfather actually fought in a battle that helped liberate Europe during its darkest times, I'm just going to reflect on his bravery and be glad he took a stand with his country against the Nazis.

Hi TheElementary,

Yes, and when they came back from war, they just got on with things. My grandpa put away his army gear, went to work in New York, got married, had a family.

It was something they did because they had to, and then they moved on. It's a completely different generation of people, and one that is almost disappeared. That is what makes me saddest.

Dear Anonymous,

I think many people (even those older than 20) have no clue what D-Day is unless they've seen something in a movie. I don't know what to blame it on: the sorry state of our educational system and lack of sense of history?

Omaha Beach was one of the invasions that had the highest casualty rate. Those guys were sitting ducks as they came ashore and many were killed before they even hit the beach. My grandpa doesn't really like when we bring it up, even to thank him, but inside I hope he knows we are grateful to him.

Dear Karey M.,

Thank you so much for the compliment. I put you on my blogroll a little while ago so I could follow your story, which I find to be fascinating. I appreciate your visit here.

Red Shoes June 8, 2008 at 4:55 PM  

Thank you for this...it's so important that we remember, both to honor those who did it and to learn from them.

tangobaby June 9, 2008 at 9:54 AM  

Dear Red Shoes,

When I wrote this, I could not help but think of you and your family who continue to serve our country proudly.

I feel grateful to you and yours as well.