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Thread: U.S. Military Cemetery, Normandy (CTG)

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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Default U.S. Military Cemetery, Normandy (CTG)

    U.S. Military Cemetery, Normandy

    They did their duty: the wild kid
    from Nebraska with the Lucky on
    his raspberry lip, the sodajerk
    from Teaneck with the violet pressed
    in Katy's letter. The markers stand
    to attention, row by row, above
    the foam on the ragged beaches where
    each of them drew their final breath.

    Christopher T. George


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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    I have been all along that coast. Stand on the cliffs at Arromanches, and the whole Mulberry harbour is still below.

    The uncle came ashore on the first wave with the Liverpool Scottish (Kings)
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    My son was there last month on a history trip with his school.

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    Thanks for your input, Waterways and JMLE. I have not been there myself but am moved by the accounts of what occurred and the photographs of the cemeteries.

    Chris
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    Mark JMLE's Avatar
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    Hi Chris, the teachers and students got talking to some American soldiers after a ceremony which involved a 21 gun salute (it was in the days prior to the D-Day rememberance) and they thought they were German because of the Scouse accent. Luke took a lot of photo's on his phone so I'll have a look and see if there any worth posting.

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisGeorge View Post
    Thanks for your input, Waterways and JMLE. I have not been there myself but am moved by the accounts of what occurred and the photographs of the cemeteries.

    Chris
    It is good trip down the coast. There are commemoration tanks and flag on each beach. US, UK , Canadian, Free French. The roads have names like Southampton Row. The British named them British names for the troops in the landings, so they could understand and the French kept many of the names. There is a museum at Arromanches. Arromanches was taken from the land side because of the high cliffs. The Free-French took the port of Ouistreham; the most extreme west.

    The first part of France liberated was around midnight on June 5th by the Oxford & Bucks who went in by glider. They took Pegasus Bridge across the Caen Canal which was well defended with guns implanted in the ground. The Germans knew the bridge was important. This prevented the Germans from pouring tanks into the beaches, which they never tried, and secured the bridges for allied tanks out from the beaches. Richard Todd played the commander in the film "The Longest Day". Todd was in reality was a part of the actual raid.
    Pegasus Bridge

    There is a little cafe, Caf? Gondree, next to the bridge, which was the first building liberated on the landings. The owner and his wife dug up wine and champers hidden in the garden from the Germans, and had a party with the troops. I was there 20 years ago and she was still alive, but very old. A lovely old dear who was visited each year by the same troops. The cafe was still basically original from WW2, except it had white plastic furniture outside.

    I had a French girl friend at the time and she had never heard of it and was surprised and thought only the Americans came ashore. I reminded her most were British. She excitedly told everyone back in Paris about the little cafe.


    The cafe is to the left of the bridge.


    The cafe

    One night in a one-to-one, the uncle told me what is was like going ashore. They see it from a totally personal perspective. The sound of the 15 inch shells overhead from the battleships behind, making a woo, woo, woo sound. Planes constantly overhead attacking or returning. Behind was like a city, full of ships of all types, as the horizon could not be seen. Approaching, zipping of bullets in the water and landing craft returning after delivering some men, the odd body floating in the water. The scramble to get up the beach amongst the knocked out tanks, many metal obstacles, bodies lined up, smell of cordite everywhere and the beach-master screaming at them to get off the beach. And then mustering and getting off ASAP, famished and wanting tea or coffee and wet from the waist down. Gunfire all around. Noise, noise, noise. Relief when in the fields beyond.
    Last edited by Waterways; 06-11-2009 at 08:38 AM.
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


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    Extremely interesting narrative, Waterways. I was with you all the way.

    Chris
    Christopher T. George
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    I can feel the shivers run down my spine as I look at your photograph to see so many white dots against the green grass. Row upon row of tiny white markers of the brave men slaughtered on the yellow sand so near by.
    But to think that for every tiny dot on that picture there was a family grieving for a son that they were never to see again.
    Thank you for sharing that most memorable image with me.

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    Thank you, Kev and Gerry. Yes, Gerry, that's what impressed me about the photograph, the regularity of the cemetery -- of course in a way similar to many other American military cemeteries -- but then to realize the sheer numbers of men who died, and, as you say, to try to imagine the implications to their grieving families -- and then to see the sea still beating against the shore just by where they died, close to where their remains now rest.

    Chris
    Christopher T. George
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    Normandy

    Wave after wave of men rushing ashore
    Bang after bang as deadly lead flew
    Line upon line of brave young men
    Tear after tear as the news filtered through
    Mother after mother never to seen them again
    Home after home never to be complete
    Row upon row of tiny white markers
    Dot after dot from so high in the sky
    Wave after wave still rushing ashore
    Grain after grain washed clear of blood
    Day after day another veteran will die
    Year after year we will never forget

    By Gerry Temple
    copyright June 2009
    Inspired by the image posted by Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerry View Post
    Normandy

    Wave after wave of men rushing ashore
    Bang after bang as deadly lead flew
    Line upon line of brave young men
    Tear after tear as the news filtered through
    Mother after mother never to seen them again
    Home after home never to be complete
    Row upon row of tiny white markers
    Dot after dot from so high in the sky
    Wave after wave still rushing ashore
    Grain after grain washed clear of blood
    Day after day another veteran will die
    Year after year we will never forget

    By Gerry Temple
    copyright June 2009
    Inspired by the image posted by Chris

    Thanks, Gerry. A fine response to the image I posted and a wonderful poem in its own right. Well done.

    All the best

    Chris
    Christopher T. George
    Editor, Ripperologist
    Editor, Loch Raven Review
    http://christophertgeorge.blogspot.com/
    Chris on Flickr and on MySpace

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