NORMANDY: A visit remembered

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When we visited Paris, April and I made it a priority to set aside a day trip to Normandy. Both of our grandfathers served in the European theater during World War II.

I remember walking among the crosses and stars of David at Normandy Cemetery and feeling the overwhelming presence of greatness and sacrifice of those laid to rest. We walked onto the sands of Omaha Beach and I looked out toward the sea and envisioned the amphibious assault as thousands of American troops fought and toiled through the withering hailstorm of Nazi fire and bombardment. The dark clouds poured rain and the seas rocked with rage on that day. Hundreds of Marines and soldiers never made it past the off-ramps of the amphibious assault boats as Nazi fire tore into their bodies.

I looked at the cliffs to see American troops falling to their deaths as Nazi troops spewed fire from their flamethrowers from the tops of the cliff’s edge. The encroaching tide grew red from the blood of American troops as limbless bodies washed ashore.

For all the horror and living hell of that day, American troops overwhelmed the fortified Nazi positions atop the cliffs. American troops breached the doors of the concrete bunkers, tossed in grenades while their own flamethrowers bathed the interiors with liquid fire. Nazis, engulfed in fire, poured from every opening while being shot point blank by the Americans hell bent on exacting revenge.

Thursday in 1944, D-Day marked the beginning of the end of the Third Reich as America liberated Europe from Hitler and Nazi Germany. It stands as a reminder of the result of what happens when a socialist, authoritarian dictator is allowed to gain power and influence. May individual sovereignty and personal liberty reign supreme over the collective!

RICHARD LEE

Coeur d’Alene

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