Posts Tagged ‘Omaha Beach’

© janet m. webb

This door “adorns” a German WW II sentry box we saw while visiting Normandy’s Omaha Beach and environs some years ago. My f-i-l landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day.. Although in the Navy, he’d been assigned to a landing party that included his friend, who died in the water near their Higgins boat, a fate suffered by too many. My f-i-l was the only member of his group that made it to the beach.

Once off the boat, the men had to wade through a long stretch of shallow water under the eye of the Germans and their guns occupying the high ground ashore.  Those who made it to the wide, flat beach encountered not only gunfire but all sorts of mines and obstructions.  Seeing the peaceful beach today, it seems inconceivable that not only did men make it ashore, but that this day was one of the turning points of the war.

The visit was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, one that at one point or another brought tears to all of our eyes.  My f-i-l also served in the Pacific theater.

WWII doors copyright janet m. webb 2013

hu·man·i·ty

noun \hyü-ˈma-nə-tē, yü-\

Being willing to sacrifice for the good of others (humanity) as well as for yourself and your loved ones shows your humanity.
The man in the photo is wearing what my f-i-l was likely wearing when he landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day and later when he was in the Pacific.
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American cemetery at Omaha Beach.  There are many such cemeteries for the dead of many countries.
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The Weekly Photo Challenge is “Grand” but has an extra layer this week:  the “wow” factor.  To stand on Omaha Beach, where my father-in-law landed on D-Day (and survived), knowing the history and seeing the distance that had to be overcome in what was literally a world-changing moment, definitely has the “wow” factor, albeit in a different way than seeing something grand and beautiful.  And yet, this place is in its way, both grand and beautiful….and awesome, in the real sense of the word.

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Friday Fictioneers.  One hundred words to tell a story, a snippet of life told tightly. Does it succeed? You let me know.

Copyright E. A. Wicklund

Copyright E. A. Wicklund

Remembrance

Standing there, he can only imagine (because Dad had rarely spoken of it), dropping into the Higgins boats, men crying, boys stiff with fear; your best friend dying next to you in the ocean red with blood, men drowning as their water-filled helmets trapped them under waves. After staggering the long yards through waist-deep ocean, the vast expanse of Omaha Beach still waiting, filled with mines and hedgehogs and openness, the deadly rain of ammunition falling all around. Behind, the inexorably rising tide; ahead, the unknowable.

The gulls’ hoarse cries echo the forgotten screams of the defiant and the dying.

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A snippet of what my father-in-law and so many others experienced on this and other beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944.

Higgins boats: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LCVP_%28United_States%29
Hedgehogs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czech_hedgehog

My father-in-law’s ship:

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Memorial Day.  In memory. (more…)