Several years ago, we holidayed in France. Although we had been to Paris a couple of times, this was our first proper holiday in “Rural” France. We caught the ferry over Ouistreheim, Caenand were booked in a hotel there. With the intention of exploring the Normandy coast for a while.
As we drove along what was a beautiful countryside, I knew that we could have no concept of the violence that had been visited upon the people.
As we were driving along, and we visited places like Arromanches-les-Bains, to see the remains of the Mulberry Harbour, which had very likely been built here in Gosport, the gun emplacement at Longues-sur-Mer and then on to Omaha Beach, where we visited the American war cemetery. As we walked amongst the graves, looking at the names of people, men, sons, husbands, lovers who had given their lives, how could you not just gently touch the occasional gravestone and say thank you? How could you not do that and have a tear in your eye? I know I did.
We visited the British cemetery at Bayeux, the restrained dignity of the site, much smaller than the US site, but one of many, no less significant. Once again I said thank you for your sacrifice, so that we could could live the life we have.
For most of us, we have been incredibly lucky to live in what has been for the most part peaceful times. We must remember the sacrifices, and the people who sacrificed for us.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.