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A D-Day Tribute

By Stan Scislowski

In Humble Tribute To The American Boys Who Gave Their Lives On D-Day

Here, at Omaha Beach Cemetery, close by the waters of the Bay of the Seine lie buried our comrades who gave their lives in the great crusade of Liberation which began on the beaches of Normandy in the waking hours of June 6, 1944. Their last resting place overlooks the beach where they came ashore to meet the foe in deadly battle, only to fall where the sea lapped the sands where they died.

9386 brave Americans lie here on a gentle slope where the wide spread of Christian crosses and Star of David stones stand sentinel above their graves like ranks of living soldiers on parade.

Green grows the well-manicured lawn between the rows of headstones on these hallowed acres of French soil where they fell. Their spirit, however, lives on in the hearts and memories of those who so dearly loved them.

A monument rises majestically on this site, a monument nobly and artistically crafted to honor their remains. This monument of columns in front of which stands a statue of a soldier emerging from the sea, stirs the emotion in all who come to pay tribute to your Nation's gallant War Dead. These young men who lie here, so many barely out of their teens, stormed in from the angry seas in a hail of bombs and the slash of machine-gun bullets to land on a hostile shore. They died in the foam-flecked water. Some felt the yielding sand beneath their feet before they too, died their rich red blood saturating the sands where they fell. Others carried the fight inland, only to fall in death amidst the dunes and in the village streets. Still others fell in the grassy fields and orchards beyond the tumult on the beach. 9386 headstones mark their last resting place.

They lie beneath the green sod in an alien land whose bosom now holds their earthly remains. They are heroes. They died at the very threshold of what should have been an abundant and fulfilling life. Their dreams, and the dreams of those who loved them, have been swept away by the cruel fates of war. In the five decades that have passed since they gave their 'all', they've known no weariness or pain, nor sadness nor joy, nor the soft caress of a woman's love, nor the loving embrace of little children. Nor have they known the torments of anger, melancholy and ill-health. In these many years long since those tumultuous days of a Norman spring, they rose not to bright dawns, nor stood in awe at a lightning's flash or heard the thunder of summer storms. The song of the robin greeted them no more at daybreak; they've been resting. They've known not the joys of autumn and the rustle of the leaves underfoot, as we have in the coolness of late Octobers. Nor have they exulted to the glories of an awakening spring. Their sleep is endless. Their cheeks have not felt the gentle touch of a summer's breeze, nor the sting of the frigid gusts of winter. Though the world has trembled many times to the thunderous echoes of the guns of war since that day when they passed out of the sight of their comrades and were no more, they heard them not, for their sleep is everlasting. They fought the good fight and are now resting, a sleep that knows no dawn. . .no tomorrow.

You, who have walked out of the shadows of the Valleys of Death in Normandy will remember them until that time when you join that band of brothers where the brave will never die.

Stan Scislowski
A Canadian veteran of the Italian Campaign


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