Monday, June 6, 2011


It is an anniversary today. A terrible remembrance of sacrifice and courage. It is D-day, June 6th, the storming of the beaches in Normandy, France in an operation called "Overlord." I was there at Normandy on the June 6, 1999 anniversary with six army and air corps veterans who had not been back since they fought and parachuted and crawled on and near those beaches in 1944.

It was an extraordinary experience for me. These men opened up their hearts and the secured mind-vaults that held the pain and fear and terror from so many years ago. I felt it and I cried along with them as they relived the experience of death and dying.

The concluding part of the documentary of their return to Normany was the following poem.

“Lest we forget.”
© 1999 Rolland G. Smith

It was the day and the month the warriors returned
To the place where many died, the dawn the beaches burned.
The hard of then, now softened by the passage of the years.
It freed again the feelings that surfaced with the tears.

The mind and step would falter returning to the scene
Their bodies now are different. The beaches now pristine.
So many came to witness the warriors return
And wondered if their courage was something they could learn.

Valor comes in time of need, for courage is within
When tyranny oppresses it rises once again.
Old warriors we thank you, for life and limb you gave
To hold the sacred honor of the free and the brave.

You came from planes and gliders and from the ships at sea
And moved across the beaches to free French Normandy.
You now return to see, the place of battle fears
The combat dead now hold you and wipe away your tears.

The world too rejoices in thanks for how you fought
It weeps for lives that lost and too for lessons taught.
And if there is a legacy, besides long rows of white,
Let it be a world call, never the need to fight.

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