Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Twitch of a Sniper's Finger

Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial
This week I watched a lot of original film footage of the D-Day invasion and heard old soldiers talk about the horror of those days. As I worked in my garden I thought about those young boys on the beach or behind enemy lines who lived with the realization that at any time a bomb might fall from the sky, and kill them instantly.  They never knew if a sniper might be targeting them through a scope, and with a twitch of a finger snuff out their life. These young men would have given anything to be at home mowing their yard or planting flowers. But they had a job to do, and they did it without question and with courage. For some of these young soldiers, their war job ended in death. My father served as a soldier in the war (a Marine.) He made it home okay, and that’s why I’m alive today. But there were so many babies that were never born, so many families that were never started. What would those babies have become? Would they have been teachers, doctors, scientists who found cures for diseases?  We can never know.

There are precious little thanks I can give to those young soldiers who now rest in a foreign land beneath seas of white crosses and stars. They lost their lives so I could plant periwinkles in my back yard. Seventy years later I can do my best to remember them, to thank those who served and survived, and honor them with tributes, and so I do.