During a recent trip to Paris, my wife and I experienced many impressive sights such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, D’Orsay Museum, Claude Monet’s home and garden, the place where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake and several ancient cathedrals.
The highlight was a visit to the American Cemetery and Omaha Beach in Normandy. Although I had read several books and watched a number of movies about D-Day, I must say that unless you go there, you can’t understand and appreciate the impact of the American Cemetery.
The cemetery sits atop a bluff overlooking the beautiful beach, which is one of the most heart-stirring sights a person will ever experience. More than 9,300 graves adorned with white crosses and stars of David are precisely positioned as far as you can see. Every American should go there.
Although I always have been in awe of our courageous troops who took part in the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944, and our servicemen who followed them a few days later, I have an even deeper appreciation for their courage since I walked on Omaha Beach, viewing the German bunkers and guns that are still there.
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The average age of our soldiers killed at Omaha Beach was 22. Many were younger than 20, having left home to go to war for the first time.
Fresh off Memorial Day, we should reflect on the bravery and ultimate sacrifice given by our servicemen and -women, not only on D-Day but in all wars and conflicts.
May God bless them all.