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Saturday, June 06, 2009

D-Day

When I lived in Europe, I was overwhelmed by the residual effects of World War II. The cultural, economic, and sociological reverberations of it echo in the daily conversations of citizens. It is nearly impossible to walk the streets of large cities and not come across a monument or another. Entire sectors of cities had to be rebuilt after bombings. Cathedrals would never be the same. Priceless pieces of history destroyed.

Then there are the lives, the people who fought, lived, and died on the continent during the war. You can still see the scars left in the eyes of some of the elderly. It was tragic and altered European history.

On 6 June 1944, sixty-five years ago today, the allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy in what is known as D-Day. Thousands of men died for a cause they believed in. Thousands of French civilians lost their lives as those that remained watched the beginning of the end.

As an American, my view of D Day and of World War II has been changed forevermore by my experience in Europe. My social history of it always made reference to war bonds and Rosie the Riveter, but made so little mention of the impact the war truly had. It wasn't until I lived there that I began to understand the significance of D Day and the relief it brought to so many, and the despair to others. It is a marvel to me that these countries work in harmony together now, a short sixty-five years later, when the whole continent had been on the brink of destroying itself.

Today I am truly grateful for the lessons history offers us. I am grateful for the land I grew up in. And I am grateful for those who believed in their countries and what they represented as they stormed the shores of Normandy.

1 comment:

  1. You brought tears to my eyes as I read this aloud to Nonny. My only question is why don't you send this into a paper or periodical? Well stated.

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