Monday, May 5, 2008

June 6, 1944

While in Normandy, we visited the World War II museum. Once inside, the halls took through a Eurocentric version of the war. Displays of Nazi and Ally uniforms, propaganda posters, and even eating utensils were uplit, as if to suggest that this second "war to end all wars (this time we really mean it)" was bigger and beyond me, that the soldiers that fought in it were heroes of the past and present, and I would never be able to comprehend the hardships endured by entire world as it threw itself off its axis.

My grandfather stormed the beaches of Normandy. We sat in a theatre and watched film clips of the invasion. We watched as the little dots on the beach scrambled to safety or death (whichever came first), scored by piece resembling "William Tell". I couldn't help but think that my grandfather could have been any one of those little anonymous dots on the beach. He couldn't have known that his third-eldest granddaughter, sixty-four years later, would be watching him in a darkened theatre with two Frenchmen and a Korean-American girl at a giant museum heralding his efforts.

We visited the American Memorial Garden after watching the film. Displayed behind a waterfall were plaques from each state in the union (even Hawaii, which wasn't technically a state until after the War). Ohio most definately had one of the more boring plaques, but I still had to take a picture of it.

My grandfather survived D-Day. He made his way to Paris. There he met a young model and actress named Micheline. They were soon married. Their wedding portrait is of my grandfather in his uniform, and my grandmother in what looks like a neatly tailored Dior.

I think their story would make a good movie.

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