Thursday, May 26, 2005

USA Memorial Day

At Bitburg, Germany we met a man who, as a child, had helped his dad in food service and served General Patton. The General complimented this twelve-year old making a lasting impression on him. He glowed with pride and told us where to find Patton's grave. A fellow from our home community had been on the Color Guard for his burial.

At the American Cemetery and Memorial in Hamm, Luxemborg we stood at Patton's grave not set apart from his men, but with them as he wanted. It was a warm day. From a marble bench we prayed for and thanked them and left puddles of sweat. Our contribution would dry up, but theirs was permanent.
Solemnly we walked above the Normandy Beaches. Posted signs caution against walking below as there are still unexploded mines. This day all was silent, even the visitors. Back at our Auberge our host twisted up his face and said he'd seen more than he could talk about.

At Colleville Sur Mer the 170 acre American cemetery holds the remains of those who contributed their all to the cause of freedom. The American director said the perfectly aligned crosses are set in a trench of concrete.

At Dachau, Germany we spoke with the President of the Survivors. "He said he was there to be sure the ovens were never again lit for that purpose." To our surprise he was not a bitter man inspite of his parents and first wife dying while all were imprisoned. He married again and they had a son. The Press arrived to interview him. He laughed and said to watch him make a fool of himself.

Our bellies in our throats we walked through the crematorium trying not to imagine its horrors. Images surfaced anyway remembering the words of a fellow from our home that was here liberation day. "They were so emaciated we couldn't tell the men from the women. An American soldier threw a piece of candy that landed in the barbed-wire. Naked prisoners dove in risking deep cuts and scratches; anything for a bite of food."

My late husband was a generation older than I and a WWII veteran plagued with nightmares and bouts with malaria. When he passed on I hoped his meeting with the Creator would go like so:
Seen the horrors of war, dear one,
The man began to weep
No more, no more! the Good God cried
I'm granting you Grace and Peace

In death their souls have returned to God to be rewarded and made whole. Grace and Peace to all who have fought, and who do fight for freedom.

copyright 2005 Red Convertible Travel Series

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing the Memorial Day posting with the 150 bed Missouri Veterans Home at Cape Girardeau.
The Veterans here represent nearly 1,000 years of military service, participating in over 2,000 land, sea and air battles from WWII through Vietnam.
Some are here as a result of wounds suffered in those battles. Eleven Have Purple Hearts, one with a cluster.