Posts Tagged ‘war’

© janet m. webb

Emilio Pasquale at “Photos by Emilio” invited me to take part in the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge. The challenge is  to “post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge”.  I’ve been neglecting the writing part of my blog for a bit due mostly to a combination of my part time job and spending time outside because it’s spring.  This will be a good opportunity to bring the writing back in and combine it with the photos.  So thanks, Emilio, for helping me get back on track.  And be sure to check out Emilio’s blog and his wonderful photos.

For my nominee, I choose Allan at ohmsweetohm.me.  Allan’s last job before retirement was working as an electrician on the Golden Gate Bridge and he has some amazing photos and stories.  Allan, you’re under no obligation to accept the challenge, just take it as the compliment it’s meant to be.

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I’d never been to Omaha, Nebraska before June 6, 1944, and I never went there afterwards, even though it didn’t have a beach.  Never bought a German car, either.  My ideas of hell bear a strong resemblance to what I saw that day.

We went of the sides of our Higgins boat early that morning, the water stretching endlessly ahead of us and then the open, flat beach.  Behind that, the Germans and their guns lay in wait, knowing we’d have to come to them, through the water and across the mine-strewn beach.  How in God’s name we were expected to make it in alive, I’ll never know. Many of us didn’t.  My best friend drowned right next to me, in water turning red with our blood,  held under by the weight of his pack and the water trapped by his helmet. Bodies were everywhere but the only way was forward so I kept on moving, just hoping to stay alive.  Was I scared?  What do you think?  But what else could I do?  Just keep moving and, if you were a religious man, pray.  Thank God, Rommel wasn’t there that day or the results might have been different.

I still dream about that day sometimes all these years later.  And I’ve never gone back.  Some things are best left in the past.  But I still remember.  They say war is hell.  Most of them have no idea.  Unfortunately, too many of us do.

Above us…for dVerse

Posted: November 5, 2014 in Poetry
Tags: , , , ,

Grace at dVerse challenges us “to write from the perspective of the dead man (or woman).” Here’s my poem. My photo is, I admit, from WWII, but it’s closely related and WWII figures into my poem, albeit obliquely.

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Above us

“In Flanders field the poppies blow…”

And grow, too
            (as well they should
            given our bones and flesh and blood 
gone to fertilizer)

gone to grow
          not peace 
          but yet more war
another layer of human fertilizer
    above us

When will they ever learn?

No doubt 
      never
“Man” being what he is

But there are things worth fighting for
and so we gave our all
      (and cheered those left behind
       to live and grow 
   above us)

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The rest of this week’s photo challenge entries can be found here:  http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/photo-challenge-abandoned/.

To read about the U. S. Rangers assault, including scaling the picture cliff, on Pointe du Hoc on D-Day, go here:  http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/wwii/dday/pointeduhoc.aspx.

My mom was born on this day 84 years ago.  I’m sure her birthday in 1941 wasn’t the best birthday she ever had.  That day was the beginning of suffering for many Americans, including those Japanese-Americans who were interned unjustly and for so long.

Although war isn’t pleasant to think about, we need to remember and to teach our children what happened and why, as best we can.  This short video serves both to honor those who fell at Pearl Harbor and as a simple reminder.

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.

******************

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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