Today, we commemorated the 69th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy.
In the village of Arromanches, we met a witty British veteran in his nineties with a love of Louis Armstrong and the foxtrot. He was an extraordinary conversationalist. On this day designated to pay tribute to him, he took time to ask questions of me.
Bands played. Soldiers marched. Allied flags fluttered in the breeze.
Medals adorned the chests of veterans. Some veterans were escorted by younger family members. People wore poppy pins close to their hearts.
At the American Military Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, I crossed paths with a feisty American veteran who reminded me of my late grandfather. My grandfather fought in the Pacific during WWII.
Participants of the Colleville-sur-Mer ceremony laid wreaths beside a statue depicting the spirit of a man rising from waves of the ocean.
Visitors placed single stems of roses beside snow-white headstones. Cameramen captured veterans on film.
There were parachutists, women dressed in Rosie the Riveter-like apparel, and men dressed in 1940’s military uniforms.
On Omaha Beach, a vintage jeep drove alongside the water. In the sand, someone had etched the word, “D-Day.”
We visited an ugly concrete bunker. And we saw fields dotted with beautiful yellow blooms.
“There on the beaches of Normandy I began to reflect on the wonders of these ordinary people whose lives were laced with the markings of greatness.”
― Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation.
Where in the World?
Have you been to Normandy, or are you planning to visit in the near future? What sites did you find to be the most moving?
Photography & text © by Tricia A. Mitchell . All Rights Reserved.