Saturday, June 06, 2009

D-Day Anniversary

Over at PBS' American Experience, there are some pretty amazing letters written by GIs in France after D-Day. Here is an excerpt from one of them, notable for its contrast between activities in France and at home:

The Long Low Dark Coast of Europe Looms Ahead

At dusk on July 29th my convoy of ships, largest of the war since D-Day, reaches broad sandy Utah Beach on the Normandy Coast. Like Omaha Beach a few miles o the north and clearly visible below its bluffs, Utah was the scene of D-Day landings by our troops nearly two months ago. But here there are no bluffs and resistance was weak rather than strong as at Omaha. Gentle meadows spread inland. The beach swarms with men and machines. It is the chief port of entry for U.S. forces invading France. In the distance anti-aircraft shells explode n the evening sky and a dull roar of heavy artillery marks the front line. Dozens of barrage balloons, like big sausages tethered to earth by cables, float close overhead to protect the landing area from low-level air attack.


Meanwhile Jane is gently influencing her mother toward selling their home at 317 Burlingame Avenue and moving to Santa Barbara, as a decisive step in coping with the sorrow of her father's death. The children continue to be a source of life and hope for them both, as they crave yet dread each day's mail, newspaper, radio broadcast.

To the men who served in the armed forces and took the war to the Nazis on D-Day, thank you. May God bless you.

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