And then it happened.
The ocean opened, spitting out thousands of ships rolling onto the northern shores of France delivering over 150,000 men weighted with guns, grenades and hope. It was June 6th, 1944--the beginning of the end--a day that had a profound effect on all of our lives--even those of us who were not yet born.
I just returned from Normandy and my vacation's timing to the D-Day anniversary was strangely ironic. I was not on a genealogical hunt or charged with a passion to travel to the D-Day Memorials. I was there for a leisurely vacation in the northern countryside of France. But I left with an awakening: A deepened understanding and gratitude to the Allied Troops who took horrific risks to change my future--our future.
On a rainy, chilled-to-the-bone day, my husband and I drove to the beaches of Normandy. I had no expectations other than I felt I had to make the journey. We were there and we should see it.
It is just a beach but we need to see it.
And then we walked towards Omaha Beach, passing a long eternity pond whose arm guided us toward the ocean and as we turned, thousands of marbled crosses peered at us, standing proudly at attention. The blanked landscape flowed upon the beach and our minds trailed with pictures of death and bloodiness of that day.
For most of us war is an event that occurs far away in time and place. But weaving between the soldier's graves in Normandy, I suddenly felt I understood the gravity of that day. Had the Allies failed, imagine what our lives would be today.
And so I feel I will never let June 6th pass again without holding its profound meaning high.
It is not a holiday. It is our lives.
To search for and explore your ancestor's records in the Normandy Invasion, this site might be helpful:
American Battle Monuments Commission.
Keep searching for answers,
(Source: D-Day museum in Bayeux, Normandy, France).