Monday, June 6, 2011

Memory Lane Monday


Donna at Brynwood Needleworks said we have until Monday June 6 to link up for Memory Lane Mondays and that's when I decided to do this post after all.

 I say after all, because I had thought perhaps I was posting about war too much - but, after reading her post, I thought perhaps I should - especially because her Memory post references Memorial Day...

June 6 is an important day in world history - June 6, 1944.

D Day

We have spent the last few days reflecting heavily on Operation Overlord, the "Debarquement" and it has been a sad reflection indeed. But also a proud one.
We have seen Juno Beach, Utah and Pointe du Hoc...

Today we went to Omaha.

A diplomat from the British Foreign Office once told me Juno Beach (the Canadian landing site in Normandy) was a peaceful place, where the memorial and the beach connect, and the town of Courseilles-Sur-Mer is steps away. 
An unassuming place, where the way to the beach is as you would have found it even before the war, and the museum rises out of the dunes just behind it, respectful, very Canadian. He was right.

He said Omaha is sad.

The cemetery is on the beachhead, high above the sand and crashing surf. 
It is the most meticulously cared for cemetery and memorial I have ever seen, and it is by far the saddest.

We came up the stairs from the Information Centre, turned the corner and stopped - everyone did. That first sight of the crosses is overwhelming, staggering.

You've just spent the past sixty minutes reading plaques and watching movies, all telling tales of heroism and sacrifice, brotherhood and patriotism, and you are feeling full of pride and glory and victory.

And reality comes at you swiftly, cutting you down, you fall to your knees and suddenly you can't catch your breath.

So many.

Row upon row upon row of white crosses, and when you think you must surely be coming to the end you realize you are but half way.

The rows of white crosses continue still.

I'm not sure how long we walked among the rows, looking at the names here and there, turning at this point, walking that way, in a daze, with no rhyme or reason to our meandering. 
But then Omaha defies rhyme and reason.

He was right again.

Sorrow and pride are big emotions, the biggest really. And they fill that cemetery to bursting, all 172 acres of it.

The cemetery at Omaha Beach is among the most beautiful; the men and women that were laid to rest there fought for freedom, certainly, but they also fought for more than that.
They fought for a world where people could live without fear, and in their fight they showed us that great things can be achieved by many, 
by a few,
and sometimes even by one.

We Will Remember.


Brynwood Needleworks said...

Hi Jillayne:
Just looking at the photos and realizing that each cross represents a life ended makes me incredibly grateful. All those families who grieved a loved one who sacrificed all for our freedom.

Thank you for joining Memory Lane Mondays, my friend. Your contribution was inspired.


The French Bear said...

Great never fails to bring a tear to my eye....we should always take a moment to reflect. When I hear of lazy and disrespectful people saying they don't have time or care to vote...this is the image that comes to mind.....this is what we need to show students and the world......this is what freedom means...this is the price we paid, the world did, not just Canada.
Thank you for such a moving post, it holds so much meaning to me....
Margaret B

Suztats said...

Thank you, Jillayne, for this beautiful post, for reminding us never to forget, for showing us the respect and care given to the fallen, and for spreading the word that our freedoms carried a heavy price.
We do not have the visual reminders in row upon row of white crosses, of those who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms. Thank you for reminding me of that, and of today's date.
Lest We Forget.

Createology said...

This is a beautiful peaceful and serene place. Unlike the horrific war that took these lives. For our freedom...something we take for granted and then Memorial Day comes to remind us of the tremendous sacrifices made by so many. Thank you Jillayne for sharing and posting such a beautiful tribute...