D-Day, the 6th of June. How often have we heard this and do we really know what our American soldiers went through?
In 2005, The Trout and I were fortunate to make a trip to Normandy, France. It was a most memorable trip that we often talk about. Of course, every June 6th, we start thinking about all we saw there.
Omaha Beach, Pointe du Hoc, an outcrop of rock with 30 meter high cliffs that Col. James Rudder and his US 2nd ranger battalion scaled on the morning of June 6 to silence a German gun battery on top. The craters on the top of this cliff are unbelievable. The bombing must have been beyond belief.
But the most remarkable and memorable was entering the American Military Cemetery. Pristine white marble crosses are lined up in perfect rows. There are 9,387 graves which include 4 women nurses, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., the oldest soldier in the group who did not die in action, but of a heart attack in July, 1944, and two of the brothers inspired by Spielberg's film, Saving Private Ryan. There are also 307 graves to soldiers whose identity is unknown. The saying on the marble altar above says "I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish."
As we entered this outdoor sanctuary, many people where there, all silent. We were entering a beautiful church set in the most breathtaking scenery in NW France. I silently asked The Trout as we were talking, "why are there no names on the grave crosses?" No answer. We just kept walking. As we reached the end of a row, we paused and looked back to where we came from. It was a breathtaking experience, because there, we saw all the names of the soldiers who were buried there. You see, the crosses were all facing west, toward America. How perfect, how fitting a resting place for these proud soldiers. They were still looking toward home, AMERICA!