D-Day: 70 years ago today

During a normal day, this time of year, I usually dress in a t-shirt and shorts.  Today’s forecast high is supposed to be 86 degrees.  I imagine it will be higher.  When I opened my dresser drawer in the process of getting dressed, the first t-shirt on top of the stack was a shirt I bought last year in Normandy, France.  It says “Omaha Beach” and “Normandy Landing Beaches – D.Day – 6.6.1944.”  I thought it was very appropriate that this t-shirt would be my shirt of choice for the day.

After I had my morning cup of tea made, I sat down at my computer to check the news of the day.  One link led to another before I ended up on the NBC News web site and a live video feed of the D-Day ceremony on Omaha Beach in France.  I wish I had remembered that the ceremony was going to be broadcast live because I would have been up earlier.  I started watching shortly after 5:00 PM France time, which looked like it was not too far into the program.

In April 2013, my wife and I took a trip to France, which included time in Paris and a river cruise to the Normandy region.  One of our excursions was to Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery.  The ceremony I watched this morning was very inspiring.  However, I am glad I had the opportunity to visit the Normandy Beaches without all the props and equipment that was there today.  I can remember sitting on a rock wall at the cemetery, overlooking Omaha Beach.  In that quiet, peaceful setting, I imagined what it must have been like to be there nearly 69 years in the past.  I remember the contrast of seeing children running on the sand, playing, and how I imagined the violence that was occurring the morning of June 6, 1944.  My visit there was very moving and was an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Today, after watching the live ceremony from France, I imagined again what it must have been like to be a soldier engaged in the fight that raged there.  I’m sure I will be able to see the ceremony in its entirety this evening, but it was really something to be able to see much of it live this morning.  Ah, the wonder of the Internet.

If you are a traveler and you have never been to Normandy, France, it should be on your bucket list.  My trip there ended up being more meaningful to me than I had ever imagined.

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