Thursday, June 26, 2014

The extreme violence of the assault on June 6, 1944? The Sounds on D-Day Were Soothing

A Frenchman with a German name, Maxime J E Heinisch, writes to the New York Times from Toulouse to say Merci
Every June 6, I, a young Frenchman, remember that I have had the chance to live my life because some foreigners gave theirs, and that many of these lives ended up on the sand without having the chance to fire or fight, a sacrifice that left most of them alone with fear while crossing over to the other side, literally and figuratively.

Every June 6, I remember the words from my grandparents that were all about soothing sounds: the quiet of the crepe soles of the American troops contrasting with those of the invader, or the smooth whistling of gliders landing quietly in the fields. It seemed to them that war’s deafening noises were vanishing with the Allied armies coming.

Every June 6, I also remember my hand full of cartridge cases, when at 9 I discovered Normandy’s beaches: There were so many in the gravel that my schoolmates and I at first thought that someone had spread them around.

On that sunny day, I felt the extreme violence of the assault, and as soon as I was back home, I pinned up the Star and Stripes and United States Army patches on the walls of my bedroom. This was the only way for me to say thank you at that time.