PERSPECTIVE: What I learned about the world from my neighbors.
At Pointe du Hoc, midway between Omaha Beach and Utah Beach, there is a granite pylon erected by the French as a monument to the American Second Ranger Battalion, whose members scaled the 100-foot cliffs and took out the embedded German artillery that had been carefully positioned to protect both beaches. As I stood next to that monument and looked at the treacherous cliffs extending in both directions, I was humbled as I absorbed the image of these Rangers clawing up these cliffs while enemy soldiers were firing virtually straight down upon them. Today it is so serene, with the Stars and Stripes (along with the flags of our allies) continuing to fly over Pointe du Hoc, giving renewed honor to those brave men.
Along Omaha Beach lies the American cemetery. As we approached the semi-circular colonnade I saw thousands of flower arrangements. Some were from government agencies, but many of the baskets were from French elementary schools, as I realized that it was today’s children who had filled these baskets with blooming flowers and then marked them with the crossed flags of France and the United States.
It was chilling, yet beautiful, to look over almost 10,000 white crosses spread over 170 acres. It was a special opportunity to salute these brave men. It was good to see the American flag proudly waving above. It was good to be an American.
Merle Wilberding, a Dayton attorney, is one of our regular contributors.