Archive for the ‘World War II’ Category
A scientist, Chernobyl-experienced, may not be lying: Any time you have a nuclear facility that size that is not meeting requirements for cooling, you have a real emergency on your hands.”
Ron Chesser, Center of Environmental Radiation Studies
For days now, arresting lines from a poem by James Haba ring in my head - I paraphrase:
An official is speaking on the radio
He is lying
An earthquake of nearly impossible magnitude,
followed by tsunami destruction beyond human comprehension,
fill our world,
dominating even the great floods of New Jersey rivers and streams in this spring of discontent.
My heart aches along with the people of Japan, people of the globe, shattered by these multiple disasters.
On television, officials play down the seriousness of explosions and escaped vapors. They want us to see it as mere steam. They want us to deem it harmless. They tightrope around the word ‘meltdown.’
The true tragedy is that — as in Katrina, as with BP’s oil disaster off our shores, nobody knows what to do.
We are being given the nuclear equivalent, in translated phrases, and by the Japanese Ambassador to the United states, of BP’s “500 gallons a day” admission. You remember –I asked NJ WILD readers from first hours, if you believed it. (You know the outpouring ultimately climbed into millions.)
We are assured that only a handful of people ‘reveal levels of radiation’, as 100,000s of thousands are evacuated. [And what happens when your home has been suffused with radioactivity - what hope ever of return?]
One official blithely announced that any radiation would simply float out to sea. Wonderful. First we oil our amniotic seas. Then we radioactivate them, and air currents above.
In pictures of damaged American harbors, we have been given vivid proof of the very short distance between the shores of Japan, the coasts of Hawaii, California, Oregon and Washington. Not only wave energy makes that journey.
In turbulent times, especially in times where deception is the norm, I turn to the past, as NJ WILD knows.
Lately, I’ve been leaning on Eleanor Roosevelt, that consummate truth-teller. We know that even her husband did not always welcome Eleanor’s integrity.
I came across a new paperback of her legendary My Day columns. She wrote them even on her lap in uncomfortable planes flying to visit American troops in the Pacific. My Day appeared in hundreds of newspapers in the days of healthy journalism.
Eleanor ceased turning in her columns for a mere four days around President Roosevelt’s death. In Depression, War, and now on the morning after peace, Eleanor told the truth to America.
The VERY FIRST My Day WORDS I read this morning, [Sunday, the 13th of March, while a tsunami of images of submerged houses and flattened cars and overturned boats and mud-inundated fields and severed highways and empty roadways and far too few official anybodies rescuing anyone, surge through my head,] were:
The new atomic discovery has changed the whole aspect of the world in which we live. It has been primarily thought of in the light of its destructive power. Now we have to think of it in terms of how it may serve mankind in the days of peace.
This great discovery was not found by men of any one race or any one religion and its development and control should be under international auspices. All the world has a right to share in the beneficence which may grow from its proper development.
If we allow ourselves to think that any nations or any group of commercial interests should profit by something so great, we will eventually be the sufferers.
It is a challenge to us. For, unless we develop spiritual greatness commensurate with this new gift, we may bring economic war into the world and chaos instead of peace.
The greatest opportunity the world has ever had lies before us. God grant we have enough understanding to live in the future as “one world” and “one people”.
These are excerpts from an undated column, with a New York dateline, at the time when “word was flashed that peace had come to the world again.”
Eleanor reveals a great heaviness: “I had no desire to go out and celebrate. The weight of suffering which has engulfed the world during so many years could not be so quickly wiped out.”
Always in touch with the larger picture, Eleanor leapt quickly to concerns over the nuclear wand which scientific wizardry had brought into the world.
Her words of long ago prove profoundly prophetic. We are a world united. However, not by peace. Unfortunately we have become ONE in the unparalleled pursuit of technology. Events of recent days have united us in horror and grief. And impotence.
Officials, not only in battered Japan, insist on “no harm to human life” from white clouds issuing from severely compromised nuclear reactors.
Where are the experts on our own Three Mile Island, on Russia’s Chernobyl? Who is drawing parallels and lessons?
Among the few who address the perils of catastrophic climate change, are many who insist that the only solution is increased construction of nuclear power plants. Many of our existing ones are built dirctly upon faults. We are being urged to build more when we don’t know how to resolve disaster in those already in use.
What radio announcement on the New Jersey Turnpike triggered Jim Haba’s poem, we do not know. The universality of his response reverberates into this new century:
An official is speaking on the radio
He is lying…
Eleanor’s prophecy: We will eventually be the sufferers.
It is now Sunday Evening: from AOL
KORIYAMA, Japan - Japanese officials warned of a possible second explosion Sunday at a nuclear plant crippled by the earthquake and tsunami as they raced to stave off multiple reactor meltdowns, but they provided few details about whether they were making progress. More than 180,000 people have evacuated the area, and up to 160 may have been exposed to radiation.
Four nuclear plants in northeastern Japan have reported damage, but the danger appeared to be greatest at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, where one explosion occurred Saturday and a second was feared. Operators have lost the ability to cool three reactors at Dai-ichi and three more at another nearby complex using usual procedures, after the quake knocked out power and the tsunami swamped backup generators.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Sunday that a hydrogen explosion could occur at Dai-ichi’s Unit 3, the latest reactor to face a possible meltdown. That would follow a hydrogen blast Saturday in the plant’s Unit 1.
“At the risk of raising further public concern, we cannot rule out the possibility of an explosion,” Edano said. “If there is an explosion, however, there would be no significant impact on human health.”
FROM MY SCIENCE DAILY E-ALERTS:
Ron Chesser, director for the Center of Environmental Radiation Studies at Texas Tech University, was the first American scientist allowed inside the exclusion zone in 1992 following the Chernobyl disaster. He can discuss issues that Fukushima workers may be facing in light of the cooling system troubles.
Chesser said that though reports have stated the reactors were shut down safely, the reactors still must be cooled constantly to avoid a meltdown of the core.
All four reactors have been shut down at Fukushima Daini.
“The fact they’re having trouble cooling the reactors is going to trigger an emergency,” Chesser said. “There are certain trigger points for declaring an emergency at nuclear reactors. Reduction in cooling capacity would be one of those. Release of radiation would be another. Reactors are not like your car that you can turn off and walk away. They’re going to continue generating a great amount of heat until the core is disassembled. Without cooling water, then you stand a real chance of a meltdown of core that could result in a large release of radiation, potentially.”
However, Chesser, who has toured a smaller Japanese nuclear power plant in Chiba, said Japanese designers put many precautionary measures and contingency plans in place to ensure reactor safety in the event of an earthquake.
“I was very much impressed with the amount of attention to safety, especially regarding potential of earthquakes,” he said. “I was a little bit surprised when I saw they had a looming crisis at the Fukushima power plant just because of all the great attention the Japanese pay to earthquake safety.”
Also, the Fukushima reactors appear to have containment vessels over them unlike Chernobyl, he said.
Though there is cause for concern, Chesser said he thought workers at the plant must have some cooling capacity available, since the evacuation radius from the plant was only 1.9 miles and affected 3,000 people. [most recent t.v. reports reveal 200,000 now - late Sunday night]
“I think that sounds like that’s a low-level alert,” he said. “It didn’t sound like there were that many people being evacuated. At Chernobyl, when it went, they eventually were evacuating people 18 miles away from the reactor. It doesn’t sound like there’s an imminent issue, but it is serious. Any time you have a nuclear facility that size that is not meeting requirements for cooling, you have a real emergency on your hands.”
According to the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) website, the Fukushima Daiichi plant has six functioning nuclear reactors with two more that are scheduled to come online in the next two years. Recent reports from the company have said reactor Nos. 1, 2 and 3, were shut down because of the quake, but 4, 5 and 6 were down because of regular inspections.
At Fukushima Daini, all four reactors have been shut down, according to the website.
According to the 2008 World Factbook, Japan ranks third in the world for electricity production. A recent story on the United Nations University’s website states that 30 percent of Japan’s energy is produced from nuclear power.
“My great hope is that they are going to be able to rectify this quickly enough that they can maintain cooling capacity,” Chesser said. “I think that a reactor meltdown could be a major disaster, especially in a highly populated country such as Japan. It would be a real setback when we are battling to find alternatives to fossil fuels considering the potential that nuclear energy has.”
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When Rain Blessed
Once upon a time, rain was soft and welcome, –gift of summer’s days.
And not only good for farm crops and grass, rain brought especial joy to children.
I just discovered that I had forgotten gentle rain. I have been reading three 1970’s library books on Cape Cod, –where I summered during those years with teen-aged daughters. One memoirist muses, “It is beginning to rain lightly.” I was thoroughly startled. How long has it been since I experienced or even thought of ‘rain lightly’?
My mother would welcome “a good soaking rain”. It was good for our Victory garden, products of which she would can and pickle on steamy August days, usually rainy days. She even canned green beans, and most tomatoes. Dill in my house right now takes me right back to Lathrup pickle days. Rain was also good for Daddy’s ‘Creeping Bent’ grass, of which he was inordinately proud for some reason we girls could not fathom.
‘Rainy days’ for my little sister and me meant coloring, cutting out paper dolls, making scrapbooks from Mother’s shiny magazines. In gentle rain, we would do this out on the screened-in back porch. Rain was everywhere around; but we were safe, warm and dry. That small square porch was entirely surrounded by blue morning glories I’d planted from seeds. A special dappled light came through the petals even in hot sunshine. The twiney vines braided themselves along multicolored chain-stitched supports - the only crochet skill I ever mastered. To be out there together in the soft air, as rain sifted down all afternoon, around our little brick house and our sheltering porch, was simply magical.
Rainy day air was light on my child-skin. Our little round arms reached out for crayons and scissors, beyond sundress straps or pinafore ruffles, — summer ‘frocks’ our mother had sewed and ironed. I realize that we were dressed up a good deal of the time, even in rain. Even though nobody saw us.
Best of all was paddling outdoors in one-piece homemade bathing suits. We loved being barefoot in new puddles. We would squat a long time on solid tanned legs, studying patterns sketched by varying combinations of drops on shallow water. Barefoot, bare-torso’ed, bare-headed of course, that warm rain coursing along our toddler bodies like blessings. This could have been the grace they were always prating about in church, without explaining it once. Out in warm rain, we knew the state of grace.
Rainwater was actually good for our naturally curly hair. We’d save rain in fat low wooden slatted buckets out at the side of the house. The wood would swell tight with liquid, holding it for shampoos (in Castile soap) and rinses that made our hair curlier.
That rain was also good for Mother’s dark purple violets, hidden among heart-shaped leaves. Violet blossoms seemed snipped of silk. They would tremble in the softness of that rain. We thought the roses looked up gratefully, lifting pink throats to sip and sip what British storybooks called ‘a mizzle of rain.’
In rain, I used to love being up in Aunt Betty’s Toledo attic, when we were taking care of her four girls and a boy. I treasured rain’s song on her roof. Alone by the grey yet luminous attic window, I’d page and page through volumes we didn’t have at home. There was no library in our town nor school, so Aunt Betty’s was my only one. And I loved it best in rain. Its patter on her roof sounded like unsteady new kittens walking around upstairs in Lathrup, Michigan, while we were down in the living room, waiting for Daddy. I don’t remember an attic, in Michigan. At Aunt Betty’s I’d particularly love leafing through a long set of books we never saw elsewhere: “My Book House.”
This may have been the poetic influence I have never been able to trace, having majored in science in high school and college, –no time for the Romantic (in more than one sense.)
Childhood rain made a relaxing sound, a sleepy sound. I wasn’t a sleepy girl, so found this sensation odd and memorable. Childhood rain was soothing as lullabyes. Not menacing. Not run-for-your-lives. Rather, “Curl up here and read of new worlds.”
Now, we WOULD have to run outside, hurry the laundry off the summer lines, before it actually got wetter! But this was not a frantic task, and often a silly one. Pre-rain winds would wrap the (always only white) sheets around our young bodies, sometimes tripping us, while purple-black cumulo-nimbus clouds (learned for my Girl Scout weather badge) piled and piled in the west. Tripping onto sheet tails was bad, because Creeping Bent made long green stains under the pressure of a child’s unwitting foot.
Billowing in our arms, even partly dried sheets were redolent of wind across Lake Michigan, in Traverse City or Naubinway, our favorite places on earth. The hard part was then where to put the sheets indoors. The Lathrup house did have long ropes all along the most unfinished basement, but I can’t imagine that I could reach them. We had a drier the basement ofRoyal Oak.
Soft Separate Raindrops
Somehow, rain slowed our mother. She didn’t make us run around and finish everything in rain. We could even do things that didn’t HAVE to be done, –like making fudge in the steamy kitchen.
Soft rain meant dreamy times — sit on the window seat upstairs and imagine, while drops cascaded softly and almost as quiet as tinsel on Christmas trees. Gaze past mother’s bearded purple and lavender iris, toward the apple tree where we could sometimes read unseen.
The world became a shimmering place on the window seat in rain. On my narrow lap would be my fat favorite Evangeline –”dual language” - prose and poetry! but I only wanted Longfellow’s. “This is the forest primeval, the murmuring pine and the hemlock… the deep-voiced neighboring ocean…” (which I’d never seen.)
On the window-seat, I’d wish rain would continue until Daddy came home, as I wept over Evangeline’s lost love. I would yearn for the faraway country that belonged to Little Anne of France, determining to go there someday, never guessing I would manage even to live there.
No one else in Michigan had interest in “going overseas.” To everyone there, ‘overseas’ meant war, –Hitler, Mussolini and death. On the window seat in rain, there was no war. Everitt Allen, in his Cape Cod memoir, blurts, “Do not ask me which war, for all wars are the same.” Yes, and no. Not all wars have Hitler and Mussolini.
Our Cottage Was Only Slightly Larger than The Outermost House
Our Chatham cottage had but one floor, right on Nantucket Sound. Every rain there was rain on the roof. Every rain there was blessing, even the hurricane I determinedly stayed through because I wanted to feel one. Rain on the Sound formed a whole new landscape, –waves churned along that usually peaceful surface. Intricate drop designs would be scrawled one moment, effaced another. The Sound would become an enormous silvery canvas. After rain could come fogs, electric and alive. Returning sun would create round rainbows in every fogged square of the front door screen. Returning sun would bring back the rare birds - godwits and once a phalarope, the long-tailed jaeger down by the Light.
Nowadays, even a “30% chance of rain” triggers red alerts. What lies in wait for us now, instead of drifty dreamy days is downpours, lightning and thunder, “line storms.” A friend from New Jersey, who moved to a farm in the rural South, is building “a bunker” for storms. He tells me how many feet thick the concrete is, and how broad the sand shoveled in beyond that, to hide from weather.
Today’s rains tear up the lawn here above Canal Road. It’s a tough grass untended; not fragile, like Daddy’s, let alone vulnerable as violets. Huge black scrapes scar this grass, open all the way to the mud, like skinned knees. These wounds arrow down from house toward driveway. This is what happens in run-off, and there’s run-off in every rain. Rain-divots. Imagine what today’s rains would do to Mother’s violets!
Today I was supposed to take a friend for her first trip on the River Line Train. We planned to glide river town to river town all along my beloved Delaware River. But dire forecasts, –of thunder, lightning, downpours, flooding and “line storms”, whatever those may be–, caused us to cancel our plans. It’s beautiful now, but I don’t want to be in Camden, looking for Walt Whitman’s house, during a line storm.
Paddling in puddles came to an end when I was eleven. As I wrote in an early poem, “One day, clouds went both ways, fast!” That day, tornadoes exploded into Flint, Michigan, not far from us. They also ‘touched down’ in Port Huron, and Ontario, oddly south of Michigan, Canada south of the United States, wreaking untold damage - as bad as war newsreels we’d see before Saturday movies, and even bringing death.
How Lathrup skies looked, as this happened in Flint
Our father was so astounded, the next day he took us all on a tornado tour — ever the newsman. In a nearby neighborhood, my high school friend Marion’s neighbor’s house was shattered. Meanwhile, in Marion’s Mother’s garden, frail blue delphinium still stood upright.
After that, every rainstorm seemed fraught with thunder. (I was only afraid of thunder - loved lightning, and knew I was being irrational and it didn’t matter a whit. Lightning was beautiful. I still can’t stand loud noises.)
After that, every thunderstorm brought tornado warnings. We learned to spend time in the basement. This had never ever been the case, until ‘Flint’. In Lathrup, after that, to say ‘Flint’ meant ‘the tornado.’ Even as an eleven-year-old, I thought the Great Lakes might have changed temperature and/or volume, so that there was a greater contrast between the air and those broad waters, setting up long ragged tongues whirring out from the clouds, in a green-black world with its odd chemical smell. If there were a hell, it would smell like the world before tornadoes.
In all three Cape Cod books, not one of these journal-keepers mentions living through a hurricane. Although Everitt Allen describes a very old tumbledown house, for which “the first ravaging had been by hurricane, unprecedented for decades.” That might’ve been 1938’s that so demolished his New England and our Long Island here.
In our growing up, there weren’t hurricane seasons. There wasn’t even one a year. I remember ‘Hurricane Diane’s’ ravages during High School. A friend at the Detroit Times was named Diane. The newsmen mercilessly teased her — until she never wanted to hear the word ‘hurricane’ ever again. And we basically didn’t.
I never meant to long for the ‘good old days’.
However, one blessing of childhood was that rain was respite.
I yearn to return to the time of soft soaking rains.
A Story of Seasons, at Sandy Hook - for the Dog Days of Summer
The Boathouse, The Base of Sandy Hook Light -
America’s oldest continuously operating Lighthouse
There’s a secret birders know: New Jersey Beaches hold gifts in all seasons. Sandy Hook is one of my favorite birding spots. There I have quested for Bohemian waxwings among the winter robins.
Bohemian Waxwing, Marie Read, for Cornell Lab of Ornithology
There, also, Anne Zeman loaned me her Swarovski’s (Ur-binoculars) so I could focus on the impossible silhouette of the scissor-tailed flycatcher. There I have walked hot sands until my toes actually blistered, egrets to my left, tankers on the horizon to my right, impeccable shells on all sides, and silence, in August… There, Betty Lies, Janet Black and I withstood nearly gale-force winds to take winter’s drama fully into eyes, lungs and soul.
Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher, Brian Small for Cornel Lab of Ornithology
Sandy Hook is one of the New Jersey nature sites that teaches me, repeatedly, “The Journey is the Destination.” Yes, we’re going for birds. But a major part of the joy is riding over and back through Lexington-like horse farms of Monmouth County, then over Swimming River Road (called that because the faithful swam that river to reach services on the Sabbath), and into true opulence just before coming upon rivers that nuzzle the sea.
Birders are allowed into Sandy Hook without paying beach fees, because we truly are not interested in taking up beach or parking space in order to sizzle in the sun. For birders, it’s the back roadways, subtle bay beaches, the hawk watch platform at North Beach that lure. For birders, winter is NOT the empty time!
Even ‘fruitless’ birdquest, such as mine at Island Beach and Sandy Hook for Bohemian Waxwings (Mark Peel ultimately teased me, “Carolyn, you are 0 for 5!”) brought enormous gifts. Island Beach granted me a Northern Shrike instead, my first ever accepted call-in to a Birders’ Hotline, with Scott Barnes. Sandy Hook gave me an enormous flock of robins and waxwings, all of them muffled in a fog as dense as Chatham, Cape Cod. I couldn’t even see the hood of my car - but I could feel the blessings of those avian silhouettes.
Sandy Hook Dunes and Sea, from Inside Life-Saving Station
The first time I met Sandy Hook was nine years ago right now. From that platform, we marveled not only at a great egret wading in a tide pool in the dunes. This truly wild creature was feeding within binocular range of the Verrazano Bridge and the World Trade Center Towers. Their lack now is as palpable as their presence had been from those sands.
I have literally been out there at Sandy Hook in all seasons. Especially memorable are Audubon birdwalks (A winter one met and left for the wild ones at 8 a.m. from Spermaceti Cove.) I’m sure that inlet was named because whales became confused and came ashore there in the centuries before there ever was a Sandy Hook Park. I’m betting the Indians named that cove.
What I remember most of that birding dawn is February light trampolining off bay and wave-side, and (later) off grim grey military bunkers. What I cannot forget is that nearly 50 of us gathered that morning, at 20 degrees in the sea wind, ready for action.
Foul Weather Gear is in Order during Sandy Hook Winters
Sandy Hook was a fort for much of its official life. The military presence remains. Sounds of nearby gunfire starle while we are searching from the North Beach platform for migrating raptors.
People I take to Sandy Hook cannot believe it when I drive them alongside military dwellings. Long abandoned, the feel frankly haunted. One senses the tenseness of inhabitants, eternally vigilant, never really in combat… My every visitor wonders aloud why these houses haven’t been restored. Whether as residences or B&B’s or both, they could bring in significant revenue to NJ coffers. While I’m at it, let me propose Birders’ Rates…
FORMERLY OCCUPIED MILITARY HOUSING
Everyone I take to Sandy Hook is astonished at every turn; disbelieving from start to finish. Here, there is nothing boring. The word that comes to mind here, today, far from its beaches, is “pristine”. Within sight of Manhattan…
Even here at my keyboard, I feel the elation of her high surf; the beauty of flotsam and jetsam on Sandy Hook’s quiet side; the nobility and serenity of the American Bald Eagle in the towering pine of Spermaceti Cove, and everything in between. Ospreys fight over a spring nest site. A green heron arrows across a marsh. Once, Janet and I quickly put down our binoculars, which had picked up rare species indeed - nude bathers.
Scarce ruddy turnstones line up on dark rocks - resembling rocks in reality, as well as in my attempted photographs, which I’ll spare you. Midwesterners marvel at all that holly. Everyone shudders at the healthy poison ivy - but its berries are essential for fall migrants.
Sparkling Foam Among the Flotsam and Jetsam of the Quiet Side…
Among the joys of Sandy Hook are the people you meet there. Scott Barnes and Pete Bacinski are ideal birding companions, birding mentors, actually. Both are also ‘up’ on the multi-faceted history of ‘The Hook’, –from the fact that no shot has been fired from that fort in anger, to the fact its presence, right below the Verrazano Narrows, having saved Manhattan from our enemies in any number of wars.
Others who preside at information desks, at Lifesaving Station/Museum and Audubon Center, are savvy about the entire process of using the cannon to fire the rope to which the breeches buoy was attached and flung onto sinking ships. If you’re lucky, you’ll get them started on tales of lighthousekeepers (including solo females). Ask about wreckers along our coast; about submarines in recent wars…
CANNON THAT PROPELLED ROPE FOR BREECHES BUOY
When my sister, Marilyn, was here in May, the entire Audubon team worked to attach soft, comfortable Audubon neck straps to my sister’s and my binoculars, whose furnished string-straps had been cutting into our necks. We can bird longer now!
All are very helpful re plants, as well. I asked, but did not write down, the name of this vibrant native species, so it remains The Unknown (to me). Let me know, please, if YOU know. Or go out to Sandy Hook and ask. Yes, they are in among prickly pear cactus, a New Jersey native species, at Sandy Hook, at Island Beach and hither and yon in the Pine Barrens. No, the red plants are not salicornia - it was too early for that salty succulent.
RED MYSTERY PLANT, GREEN PRICKLY PEAR -
out of whose fruit the Indians made/make jam…
Sandy Hook is a good place to take people who are grieving, as is my recently widowed sister. The limitlessness of the full ocean always makes its mark. The quiet side blesses with remnants of other eras, –from abandoned bunkers to weathered driftwood to the skeleton of a fish on the sparkling beach. Everything, even subtle tidal change reminds of cycles, of renewals.
And, afterwards, over superb plain fresh seafood at Bahr’s Landing, on the water (obviously) one can stare out to sea, thinking long thoughts, letting the healing in.
Finding out that one can be distracted from loss is a major part of the process, as I was forced to learn in Provence…
There Once Was a Fish - The Quiet Side…
My sister, Marilyn, is pensive in this picture, because her late husband Bill so loved boats, especially pleasure boats. Many are in view from Bahr’s, tucked in among rough solid fishing craft that matter most to me. My sister still relishes her Bahr’s memories. We take Bill with us wherever we go.
A Good Day on the Bay
Fishing Boat From Bahr’s - Lunching, we watch cleaning of fish, feeding of gulls…
VISUAL TOUR OF BAH’RS: http://www.bahrs.com/virtualtour.html
Here is Sandy Hook Light, Winter and Summer - we don’t have to choose!
In 1976, my husband and I took our girls to Normandy’s D-Day Beaches, to honor our own Bicentennial Fourth of July. Of course, Diane and Catherine would rather have been at home with friends, watching the Tall Ships converge in Manhattan
Werner and I told the girls simply – “Without the few hours and many deaths upon these sands, we would not be celebrating our Bicentennial!”
We handed each daughter a copy of The Longest Day.”
He and I each opened a copy of Is Paris Burning?”
Diane and Catherine literally settled against rusting tanks in shallow waters, beginning to absorb the saga of the hours that had changed our lives.
Werner and I had chosen to undertake this journey at this time, because our elder would be taking American History the following September in grade school. Imagine our disbelief, asking about D Day in that year’s course material: the history book devoted a handful of paragraphs to that tide-turning Invasion.
Oh, yes, we all finished our books, interrupted by strolls through miles of white cemetery crosses, and a pilgrimage to St. Mere-Eglise, where a dangling statue from the Church steeple recreates the ruse of the paratrooper who played dead in order to survive, all that long and brutal day.
Some weeks later, coming home from JFK, riding over ‘The Narrows’, weren’t the Tall Ships all processing homeward, in stately array!
We must not forget the sacrifices of this day, on the sands and at home, let alone the liberty for which they were made! Nor the tyrannies which called such courage forth.
Return to Naval Historical Center home page.
The original announcement:
DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY WASHINGTON NAVY YARD