Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Remembering June 6, 1944

Every turn of the road in the Normandy region brings us face to face with a war memorial of some kind. More on the history later… but for today, our focus was on WWII and on specific D-Day sites.  

We began today’s pilgrimage in the town where it all began, Sainte Mère-Eglise.

On the night of june 5 leading to June 6, U.S. paratroopers descended upon and secured this quaint town near the coast in preparation for the morning’s infamous landing on Utah Beach nearby—and beyond.

The town has been made even more infamous by the iconic image of John Steele, the paratrooper whose parachute became perched on the church steeple.

in honor of the Americans, a fake paratrooper 
hangs from the church steeple... look close to see it!

 We prayed before the image of Our Lady Queen of Peace at this church, the image I call our patron, since Michael and I were married at Our Lady Queen of Peace chapel.

Unlike Omaha beach, where the cliffs proved impossibly difficult for the troops, the Utah Beach landing was considered a great success. It’s a beautiful spot.

I must admit that it was a little surreal to sit at a (former fisherman’s home) Café Bar called Le Roosevelt, listening to the Andrew Sisters and Bing Crosby—and being served coffee by a French woman wearing an American flag scarf.

The rest of our day, however, was somber, solemn, serious. We visited the cliffs were so many died trying to reach the German bunkers, and prayed for the dead at the American cemetery where thousands are buried… some even without being identified.

"Wars do not make men great, but they do bring out the greatness in good men."
~Richard D. Winters, 101st Airborne division

Our Lady Queen of Peace, pray for us all.