As Matt, D and I headed back to Paris from Pointe Du Hoc and Omaha Beach, we made a stop at the American Cemetery. This memorial contained the tombstones of the United States servicemen and women whose remains were laid to rest in Normandy after WWII. We arrived to find the facility was closed to the public. It was being run by a former U.S. Marine (Take note: You don’t say former Marine because ‘Once a Marine, Always a Marine’). D, being a military veteran, helped convince the owner to give us five minutes to visit and be out.
I decided to just take as many pictures as I could, saving their reviewing for later, since we could only be in the memorial for a short amount of time. As I ran up the steps, I came to a complete halt as I saw the vast number of graves. Oh, the ugliness of war. I thought about all the families that lost their loved ones during this battle. I looked out in the distance at Omaha Beach and serenity came over me. Because no one else on the premises but us three, one could hear the waves crashing on Omaha Beach. The saying “REST IN PEACE” could not have rung more true.
Who knows what the world would have been today had our WWII veterans not valiantly and bravely defended our humanity? To show my continued appreciation and gratitude, I always make sure to say Thanks to every living WWII veteran I cross paths with. Their generation helped shape the world as we know it today. To all veterans and military families, I wish I could do more than thank you for your service, but as a serviceman told me, “Thanks for paying taxes.”