Below is something I wrote May 30th of 2011.
On one of my visit to Normandy I can still remember walking in the cemetery high above the bluffs and the start of taps being played at 5 P.M. Everything stopped. No words to describe.
Just some thoughts:
“In Flanders fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row,
that mark our place; and in the sky the larks, still bravely singing, fly
scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
loved and were loved, and now we lie, In Flanders fields.”
I have two special memories of this day. From early childhood I can remember my family visiting the cemetery and mom and dad would walk among the graves often placing flowers and stopping, pausing to tell a story or share a memory about the one whose grave they were placing flowers on. It was there I often learned about certain family members I had not known, but learned of their importance and significance to our family. Dad would bend down and pull weeds or remove dirt, sometimes without saying a word. The second thing I remember about that day is “the race, the Indianapolis 500.” Sid Collins was the voice of the 500, and it would be on the radio within earshot most of the day.
There are twenty-two American military cemeteries where over 125,000 American soldiers are resting in eight different countries, and another 94,000 names are on the Walls of the Missing. I personally have visited eight of those cemeteries on my trips to Europe.
In the closing scene of the movie “Saving Private Ryan,” he, Private Ryan, is kneeling down at the grave of one of the soldiers that lost his life in “saving” his. Ryan turns to his wife and says, “I hope I was worthy.”
I hope on this day and many more Memorial Days to come that we honor and remember the price that was paid for us to be able to visit cemeteries and listen to radios. I hope we Americans can try and live worthy of the price it cost for us to be able to do such.
May 30, 2011