Followers

Facebook Badge

Athena Smith's Facebook profile

Saturday, July 19

OMAHA BEACH: D-DAY


We arrived in Omaha Beach on May 26, when Memorial Day was observed. Changing weather from grieving cloudy to grateful bright sunshine, all within hours. Breathtaking scenery of long strips of sand, high cliffs in the distance, long forgotten muddy bunkers along the beach, a man in a cart pulled by a horse in the still quietness.







The American cemetery covering 172 acres of land and overlooking the beach and the English Channel, is the resting place to 9,387 American soldiers who were killed during the D-day landings, on June 6, 1944. The largest sea-borne invasion in history involving almost 3 million troops. The day on which the battle of Normandy began, a battle that led to the continent’s liberation from the Nazis.





The battle, code-named “Operation Overlord” lasted until August 25, 1944. It began with airborne paratrooper and glider landings, air attacks and navy bombardments that culminated on the amphibious attack of D-Day. Forty-seven Allied Divisions totaling 140,000 troops were involved, carried by 6,900 vessels, while 4,100 landing craft, 12,000 aircraft and 1,000 transport planes flew in the paratroopers. The dead from the Allied Forces totaled 53,000, the wounded were more than 150,000 and the missing in action 18,000. The German casualties approached 200,000 while another 200,000 were captured.

It is the dead soldiers, most in their late teens, early twenties, buried in tombs facing home, towards the west, that hold the day still. Many tombs have a cross, some David’s star, a few unidentified, “Known but to God.” Kids like Orin Saddler, Earlie Gabriel, Charles Smith and Bernard Coordes. Born during the false prosperity of the 20’s, hit by the economic collapse of the 30’s, raised by reading anti-war literature like “Gone with the wind”, “All quiet in the western front” and “Farewell to arms.” They never dreamt of throwing grenades, just baseballs. Never believed they would have to shoot at other young men, just a few animals on an occasional hunting trip. It had not crossed their minds they would end up holding the broken bodies of their dying comrades on the muddy Normandy beaches, just those of their girls under the starry skies back home.












But when the call came, they took on the challenge. They fought with all they had, they fought well and they won. These kids and all the soldiers that fought the Nazis were indeed the greatest generation. They did the job for the rest of us. I know that my generation has done nothing to deserve the freedom we enjoy. It was handed to us on a silver platter. And this is why it saddens me to see how many of my fellow Europeans refuse to share this gift with others.


Kids like Orin, Charles, Earlie and Bernard made it possible for my family to exist. It is for them this trip was taken. With deep grief and immense gratitude.

























15 comments:

mtryfo said...

πέρασα μια βόλτα και κόλλησα...
εξαιρετικό αφιέρωμα και οι φωτογραφίες τραβηγμένες με σεβασμό στον χώρο...
να υποθέσω ότι η νεαρή ύπαρξη ειναι η θυγατέρα?
Συγχαρητήρια για την ανάρτηση :))
(ελπίζω να μην πειράζει που γράφω ελληνικά)

Athena Smith said...

Γεια σου Μαρια!
Ηταν πραγματι ωραιο ταξιδι,και για μενα ιδιαιτερα συγκινητικο. Θα προσπαθησω να ξαναπαω και με το γιο μου.
Ναι, στη μια φωτογραφια ειναι η Κατερινα, η κορη μου. Στην τελευταια ειναι μαζι με τη μεγαλη, την Ελενη.
Φιλακια πολλα!

TaureanWong said...

Wow, I feel like I share very similar sentiments in regards to the notion that my freedom was handed to me on a silver platter. It bothers me also to be in a generation that I don't feel totally deserve the freedom we enjoy. Our Ancestors did fight and pave teh way for us to have a better life. However, I don't agree that simply 'living' in the world provided by those before us is enough to satisfy and fulfill ourselves, nor those that gave so much so we can be better off. We owe it to ourselves and those that made our lives possible to take on the accountability and responsibility of participating in our great country, not just participating in our own seperate lives. Even if that means something as simple as taking time to reflect on how grateful we should be for the actions our ancestors took in establishing the foundation we all benefit from in being Americans, or just living in the United States.

mescobar3 said...

i love france

Chris Wilkerson said...

The debt we owe to the men that gave their lives for our, make that the worlds freedom, can never be repaid.

iOperationJapan! said...

Reading this gave me a greater appreciation for our ancestors who fought for our freedom. It inspires me to work harder towards my goals. To make sure that my freedom was worth fighting for.

amooney2 said...

As a veteran I am so grateful for the sacrafices made by these men and their families.

iluvrap said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
p&pdarcyfan said...

Beautiful photo's of your trip. And a truly touching story. I hope to go there one day and see it all for myself as well.

Nathan Howard said...

I respect all soldiers that fought for our country and gave up their own freedom so that others will have theirs. I hope someday I myself can take a trip to show respect to all those that risked their lives for our freedoms that alot of our generation takes for granted

DannyBoy said...

The respect I have for those men who gave up their lives so that we may live in freedom is eternal.

nabilla abreu said...

How these men died for our freedom is something no one can repay back to. Our generation and future generations well always be indebt with these men. If it wasn't for these men we wouldn't be living the life we live. A life that is free.

rsantoni said...

Our generation and future generations to come owe these men, who faught for our freedom, a lot more than anyone can give. It is a debt that is unpayable. Just think of these men when you walk the streets of our free country. Happyness is all we can give in regards, knowing that our lives were bettered. our country is great and will forever be great with the rights and freedom we have been granted. What they did grants me the capability to strive and reach whatever i may want to do or be in the future. without these men this would never have been possible.

joeyohweoh said...

I feel really grateful for the young men who died on D-Day that gave me the freedom to live in the U.S. Many people believe the lives lost on D-Day were in vain but I disagree. If it wasn’t for the Americans taking over Normandy the Axis could have caused many more casualties and the Nazi regime could have wiped out the Jewish religion from Earth. With the many lives lost during WWII Americans should appreciate the veterans who fought for our country. Sadly more than half of the homeless are veterans whom built this country. D-Day shall not be forgotten.

lolita said...

It's really hard to wrap our brain's around the events that shaped our past, and I dont think we ever will be able to fully understand the true essence of the events that did occur. However, I fully agree that our freedom was handed to us on a silver platter and no one but the ones who fought for it deserve that freedom, but, in a nutshell I think Taurean said it all. :)