15 June 2008

A Day at the Beach

"Never think that war, no matter how necessary, 
nor how justified, is not a crime."
- Ernest Hemingway, American writer (1899-1961)

We took a train from Paris to Caen and stayed in Bayeux at a 16th century residence that had been converted into sort of an upscale hostel (oxymoron?). We had croissants, baguette, Camembert cheese, hard sausage & wine for dinner. We laughed about the bidet. I constantly bumped my head on the five foot door frames. Our footsteps echoed in the stone staircases. The next morning we went out to the beaches of Normandie. Omaha, Gold, Juno... we walked the sand, skirting the surf, and hiked up to the cliffs. The air was chilly and the sky grey and overcast. We visited the cemetery and memorial at Colleville-sur-Mer. Endless rows of white crosses and markings. We were somber and didn't say much to each other. We walked to the edge of Pointe du Hoc, imagining the brave rangers who had to scale this terrible, broken rock some 60 years previous. The battlements, barbed wire, and shell holes still exposed - an indictment and a testimonial. A tragic trophy. All the wasted lives lost. All the children who were never born. All the inventions never dreamt. All the medicines, books, movies, and paintings lost to that terrible human invention - war.
KJT - Pointe du Hoc, Basse-Normandie, France (1996)

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