Everyday People, Uncommon Heroes

posted by Sharon November 25, 2014 25 Comments
Normandy Omaha Beach

Do you know where this beach is? It may look like so many other beaches — beautiful but not distinctive. But when you hear the name, you will probably know of it. This is Omaha Beach in France, the place of fierce fighting on D-Day in 1944. Today it is peaceful, lovely.

Above the beach lie the white crosses, row on row. Here, everyday people died, young men maybe still in their teens, from farms and cities far away. Common folk colliding with uncommon times.

Among the crosses, here and there, flowers have been laid on the ground as a way to say thank you. We may not even know their names, but our hearts feel gratitude.

Down the coast a few miles is Pointe du Hoc, another landing place for the Americans on D-Day. Here again, the scene today is tranquil.

Remnants of war overlook the cliffs here. Craters formed by bombs are clear to see. Chunks of gun emplacements lay where they fell when blown up.

A museum at these beaches displays this note, written by an army colonel from a landing craft out in the channel. He had anxiously watched the attack. Finally, he was able to send a positive report of thanks.

As we walked the hallowed ground of these battlefields, I emerged from a concrete bunker to glance at this young boy, clutching his teddy bear and ambling along what once was a war zone.

This, I thought, is what we can be thankful for. A young generation lives in freedom today, carefree and unaware of what happened in this place to ensure that kind of life. President Ronald Reagan summed it up in a tribute to the men who fought here:

These are the boys of Point du Hoc;
These are the men who took the cliffs.
These are the champions who helped free a continent.
These are the heroes who helped end a war.

My Thanksgiving holiday this year will be a little richer with thanks because of my sobering visit to the D-Day beaches.

Linking up with Texture Tuesday, Wednesday Around the World, and Sweet Shot Tuesdays. Last photo is edited with Kim Klassen’s texture kk_2312. Also linking up with the song-inspired party, Song-ography, where the theme song this week is “Everyday People” by Sly and the Family Stone.

 

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25 Comments

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ImagesByCW November 25, 2014 at 3:20 am

Beautiful pictures. I think three of your photos I have taken exactly the same. I went to Omaha beach and soldiers’ graveyards and museums a few years back with my then (American) boyfriend. It is amazing how alive history is up there in Normandy. Did you also go to Arromanches?

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Buckeroomama November 25, 2014 at 5:15 am

It is always good to remember and give thanks to those who make our ‘todays’ possible.

Have a good Thanksgiving!

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prairiejill November 25, 2014 at 6:14 am

Beautiful post – words and photographs.

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elizabethfstewart November 25, 2014 at 6:46 am

Such a lovely post, Sharon!

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Evelyn in Oregon November 25, 2014 at 6:49 am

What a beautiful photo essay!

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Carmel November 25, 2014 at 6:49 am

Your post and images are so moving Sharon. Thank you.

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Carol B. November 25, 2014 at 7:28 am

So beautiful! A wonderful tribute.

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kim at picking poppies November 25, 2014 at 10:12 am

Beautiful and heartfelt post, thank you for sharing!

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Tamar November 25, 2014 at 11:53 am

Wow. Sharon, thanks for sharing this, the site gave me goosebumps!

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dalettre November 25, 2014 at 12:24 pm

So powerful, Sharon.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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jmcguin7 November 25, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Perfect post!

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Thoughts from the Desktop November 25, 2014 at 1:25 pm

A wonderful thought provoking post Sharon. We visited the area a few years ago and I think that the area is surrounded with a soft air of remembrance.

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cheryl November 25, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Beautiful photos’ and post…we were also in France this year…(South) and visited the American cemetery there…it is powerful to be there there…I recognized the headstones here even from the thumbnail…they are the same…
I am Thankful…that France remembers and recognizes our soldiers…
Happy Thanksgiving.

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Sheila November 25, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Beautiful images and such a lovely post. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Kim November 25, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Beautiful Post, quite powerful, lovely pictures.

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Marilyn Gallas November 26, 2014 at 1:05 am

Very thoughtful, Sharon.

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Earl November 26, 2014 at 4:16 am

Beautiful photos. The little boy with his teddy bear is what it was about to give him this. I was in Junior High School at this time and remember the news broadcasts.

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HansHB November 26, 2014 at 6:30 am

Beautiful serie of photos! Great reading too!
My post at: https://hanshb.wordpress.com/

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Life Images by Jill November 26, 2014 at 8:57 am

such a beautiful beach that holds the ghosts from such tragedy and loss of young lives. Thank you for this beautiful post.
Happy travels. I am joining you over at Wednesday Around the World.

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Ramona November 26, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Beautiful photographs!!

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jason nielsen November 26, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Beautiful. And a great reminder of what we can all be thankful for this thanksgiving (and every day, for that matter). My dad’s dad was in a tank battalion in Germany and spent a year in the hospital after suffering serious injuries. It’s so important that we don’t forget these moments in history. I only wish more people did.

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Dotti November 27, 2014 at 12:01 am

I can only imaging the poignancy of visiting Normandy. I’ve not been there yet but I hope to go. A few years ago, we visited Pearl Harbor, and I felt the same kind of solemnity and awe that you found at Normandy. We owe so much to so many. Thank you! And have a blessed Thanksgiving.

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Pat November 27, 2014 at 12:16 am

A beautiful tribute. It is interesting to see the scars in the earth that remind us of the horrors of battle that took place here.

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Anne@Grit and Giggles November 27, 2014 at 2:07 pm

What an amazing piece of coast line. Seeing the picture on your link this post wasn’t what I expected but it is beautiful and well put. I love visiting places that show history.

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carolina November 27, 2014 at 2:08 pm

beautiful and moving post! happy thanksgiving!

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